Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


One year on

Posted on May 26, 2013 by

12 months into the official independence campaign, if the mainstream media is to be believed the Yes Scotland campaign isn’t doing too well. On the few occasions when the organisation isn’t being assumed to be merely a synonym for “the SNP”, it’s to allow some comment to the effect that they are “on the back foot” or has suffered another “setback” of some kind.

To be fair, it’s not only the media who have been critical. Many committed independence supporters have expressed mixed feelings about the official Yes campaign, usually along the lines of it not being proactive enough or sufficiently vigorous is dealing with this or that. Is such criticism justified? Are the media offering a fair analysis of Yes Scotland’s management of the campaign?

One year on from launch Yes Scotland has built up a formidable campaigning force with more than 170 local Yes groups the length and breadth of Scotland, and some 15 sectoral groups for young people, women, trade unionists etc. (The No camp, by contrast, has been repeatedly caught out massively exaggerating its grassroots strength, and is also plagued by “unofficial” groups like the sectarian right-wing “Better Together Western Isles”, whose Facebook page was only recently deleted.)

The Yes groups are not idle. Over the course of any week there are thousands of people out canvassing, leafleting, manning street stalls and holding public meetings. Yes campaigners totally dominate the social media and, to an only slightly lesser extent, the blogging scene. It would be hard to contest that it represented the largest grassroots political campaign in Scotland’s history (the 1999 devolution campaign having been largely a creature of politics).

What remains to be explained is the perception that Yes Scotland is “failing” – both in some absolute sense and also relative to Better Together. In part, this is because the mainstream media continues to portray the independence campaign as being led by the SNP. “Better Together” is generally acknowledged as the official anti-independence campaign, but Yes Scotland seldom is.

There’s also a tendency to base all judgements about the success of the two campaigns on a very simplistic reading of polling results. What this means is that “Better Together” gets unearned credit for the natural inertia that would still exist if they did nothing at all.

Yes Scotland, on the other hand, gets no credit for its success in achieving what it actually aimed to do in the early stages of the campaign, which was to set out the fundamentals of the issues and arguments and get people thinking and talking about the constitutional question. In that at least, there can be little disputing its success.

There’s also a glaring double standard in the media’s coverage. When someone representing Yes Scotland says something that diverges in some respect from the latest policy pronouncements of Alex Salmond or John Swinney it’s pounced upon hungrily by commentators unable to think in terms other than the traditional party-political contest. these pundits portray such differences as damaging conflict, but rarely (if ever) report differences between Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems as evidence of division in the anti-independence movement.

Yet as more and more people are encouraged by the openness of the framework generated by Yes Scotland, so the horizons of general political debate are broadened. Increasingly enthused by the possibilities and potential of independence, Scotland’s political scene has become more active and rich than it has been in decades, as demonstrated by the near-overnight success of groups as diverse as the Radical Independence Conference and Business For Scotland.

There’s a palpable, growing sense that nothing is off the table. That anything is up for discussion. That meaningful progressive change is achievable. Swathes of thinking on social and economic policy that had long been relegated to the wilderness of fringe politics are now finding a niche in what might be termed the “real” referendum debate.

Yes Scotland may not yet have won the referendum. But, with sixteen months still to go, they have made massive – and almost certainly irreversible – strides towards creating the conditions in which it can be won.

 

A longer version of this article can be found on Peter’s website.

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61 to “One year on”

  1. Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:

    Hi Peter, thanks for this article.  I am one of those who have on expressed frustration with the YES campaign.  Whilst acknowledging that this is a long campaign and that the fight will be ‘won’ in the final stages, my frustration stems from the way that YES campaign ‘officials’ express themselves on the rare occasions that they DO get in front of the cameras or microphones.  
     
    The other day in Newsnight (at least I think it was) Blair Jenkins was pressed on what are actually POLICY issues for a newly Independent Scotland.  He tried to put a neutral position, but this was in fact stating policy.  He (and there are others) should not even enter into a debate on POLICY.  the referendum is NOT about policy, it is about who and where policy is developed and implemented. 
     
    The simple message is being obscured whenever anyone from the YES campaign even respond to these “bear traps” being laid by the media.  I understand the long game for the referendum, but how many potential votes are being lost by allowing things to focus on issues that are NOT going to be decided by the Referendum vote?
     
    I have faith in the strategy, but at times I think YES can get the tactics wrong.  It is all to play for, and I am sure that the grass-roots will do everything they can.  But this referendum may be lost on a small number of people who do “know” better, but have been misdirected by the MSM/BBC in Scotland.
     
    It makes for nervous days!

  2. seoc says:

    Sadly, all the NO campaign have offered so far is speculation, wee stories of impending doom, tales of woe, if Scotland ever dares to declare her Independence.
    They do not offer any evidence or means of measuring their predictions, so presumably they’re just invoking the shadows in Plato’s Cave and using scary words to fill in the many blanks in their argument.
    It would seem that they have no case.

  3. Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:

    @seoc
     
    I agree absolutely, but they don’t NEED to offer an alternative, do they.  Their “message” is the status Quo.  The fact that the status quo is in fact evolving is never made clear by the MSM is no surprise.
     
    It will only be when (rather than if) the polls start showing enough traction that the MSM can no longer ignore them will the NO side try to present a different message.   I hope that the big change does not happen too soon, ironically a late swing will be most useful for the YES side.  Another year of Nos negativity and scare tactics would make a change in strategy impossible.
     
    So that’s why I am in an internal conflict.  I hope that the long strategy will win out, but I do get dismayed by what I perceive as foolish and avoidable distractions when YES allow themselves to be diverted to straw man arguments, and FUD refutation. 
     
    I must keep the faith!  Saor Alba

  4. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Exactly, Peter
    That we are making slow steady progress and have lost no ground despite the most vicious and continuous attack by all the media for the best part of eighteen months indicates we are winning. Very few undecided people who have come into our YES centre in Dunoon (open five days a week) have left without a YES badge firmly pinned on and I can detect no movement at all the other way.
    When I win the National Lottery (inevitable obviously as I do it all the time) I will plump the lot on at 3/1 for a YES vote – the best odds on a certainty I have ever seen.
    (And before anybody starts an argument about the Nat Lot being used by the Government to get the poor to support services that the Government should rightfully be supporting out of a progrssive taxation system I do the Nat Lottery basically because I would like to win £4 million). 

  5. Vronsky says:

    I first voted SNP in 1992 after 25 years of voting Labour.  I felt pretty silly, having finally noticed something that brighter people around me had known for a long time and had been patiently trying to explain to me.  Duh. 
    I think this is the challenge facing Yes Scotland – in 12 months, to bring people to a conclusion that it took a politically involved and informed person more than twenty years to reach.  I hope the average Scot is smarter than I am!

  6. Marcia says:

    The long referendum campaign could be considered to a jigsaw puzzle without a picture. As times go on the pieces are getting put in place and we will see the picture. It must be frustrating for the UK establishment to find all their attacks are having not much effect.
     
    We have a long way to go yet. Some friends who were hostile to Independence a little while ago are now sitting on the fence. I think they want to vote Yes but need the assurance or information other than from me. I think they want a second opinion, but it is movement in the right direction. I was very surprised and pleased to hear that over 370,000 people have now signed the Yes declaration. 

  7. Cheryl says:

    I feel Yes Scotland should just be allowed to get on with what is a campaign with a plan and strategy.  I’m sick to the back teeth of people on OUR side criticising everything they do when most of us have no in-depth knowledge of their plans.  The campaign is still being grown, it’s not complete, and there’s months and months to go yet.
    Every time I hear or read anything from Patrick Harvie for example he’s criticising Yes or the SNP in terms of this referendum and he should be wise enough to know that that’s ALL the media will be interested in and his own ideas and message are lost.  Stop criticising them and talk up the strengths of the yes campaign as a whole.

  8. Geoff Huijer says:

    Excellent article Peter.

  9. Linda's Back says:

    Lots of undecided on the doorsteps and quite a few sympathetic Yes supporters saying … ah but I not wanting to be part of the European Union.
    IMO it is essential for trade, same as sticking with the pound initially at least, but the Yes campaign needs to find a narrative regarding European referendum after independence and how that message gets over during a European Election campaign where all the London media will be bigging up the UKIP vote. 

  10. Alex Grant says:

    Excellent analysis. The Yes campaign can do a lot better as can the SNP so I believe we are ‘half full’. I attended a fantastic Yes South Edinburgh meeting on Friday and if we can ‘bottle’ the message of the speakers from Margo M to Colin Fox and Craig Murray and get it in front of the don’t knows we will win. Interestingly one lady suggested that if all Yes supporters wore a badge every day that this would make a difference. Simple but imagine the effect if a third of people in the street ‘declared’ like this – a lot more would ‘come ou” IMHO

  11. Linda's Back says:

    Sunday Times article by Rod Little this morning on Nigel Falange needing a bodyguard.
    “No doubt he is also relieved that the stranger didn’t hurl a barrage of abuse at him. Not all the attention Farage has received since his party’s success in the recent local elections has been friendly. Recently he was hounded by a baying mob during a trip to Edinburgh and had to be rescued by police.
    For a man who has survived a plane crash, an angry rabble of Scots might seem small beer, but Farage was left shaken. He feels it was a turning point.”

  12. Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:

    @Cheryl
     
    I’m sick to the back teeth of people on OUR side criticising everything they do when most of us have no in-depth knowledge of their plans. 
     
    Not sure if that was directed at me, but even if it wasn’t I have the right to be concerned about a campaign that will give Scotland back its independence when it appears that it can get distracted and sidelined. We all know the mountain stacked against us, the MSM/BBC in Scotland will never give the YEs campaign a fair shout, so any and every media event needs to ‘sell the same message’.  I often see that this is not the case.
     
    If YES Scotland can not listen to its own side when some express concerns, then when and who will they listen to.  Let’s not end up in “Group think”, this is far too important for us, our children and all the generations to come. 
     
    Most people on these blogs are already YES voters, nothing will change.  But if the polls are even remotely correct (I will defer to S_S to assuage my fears) then we need to win over 10-15% from No/Don’t know to YES.  We won’t do that with a confused message.
     
    Clarity and precision is needed, not wishful thinking. 

  13. HandandShrimp says:

    I had a look at the comments on the Herald regarding the 370,000+ signatures which I thought were pretty amusing. Ranging from 370,000? is that all? to “they are using fake names” I think most of us on the Yes side were pleasantly surprised and the thrashing around trying to discredit/downplay the number suggests the No side were not pleasantly surprised

  14. handclapping says:

    Alplinal is wrong. We have had politics by soundbite and advert for too long, its time for a thousand flowers to bloom. If people are bombarded with lots of differing stories which might happen then they will need to choose and even believe that their choice will have an effect. Could we get back to the days of 80% turnouts? We certainly won’t if its the choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
     
    My main worry, given that it is a choice about who makes policy for whom, is the demonisation of the FM. The murder in Woolwich gives us plenty of notice of how just a few crazies can be whipped up into inhumanity by hate preachers. But it is entirely different for the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party to brand our FM a dictator in the very house that unleashed a bloody war in Iraq to”regime change” a dictator. And there is our own Daily Mail mounting a crusade against some hate preachers. Ironical, no?

  15. Yesitis says:

    Good article, Peter. On the ball, as always.
     
    It seems to me the No campaign`s backbone of support comprises of Blue-rinse Tories (there`s a wee clique on Twitter – like bastard Miss Marples), flea-ridden lumbering Labour megafauna (with ankle nipping weasels and reptiles), some flautists from Northern Ireland, and diehard, arch-stereotype Rangers supporters. That`s it.
     
    Oh, I forgot, the BBC etc.
    Och well, eh.
     
    Okay, now where`s my ‘Sally Magnusson – What are we going to do?’ t-shirt?

  16. Dcanmore says:

    This is a good article because we need more on the progress of the YES campaign. I was pleasantly surprised to read 372k have signed the declaration so far plus all the good work all the other groups are doing. The reason we have constant doubts about the YES campaign is simply down to the hysterical negativity of BT, Westminster and chums, and the enormous amount of air time and column inches given to the anti-independence agenda. You can see why BT/Westminster ideal was to have a quick referendum (a la AV referendum 2011), then it would be easy to suffocate it under relentless fear, scaremongering and lies. If we held the referendum within a year of the Edinburgh agreement we would have lost with no more 30% of the vote at best.

    Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture i can see the grassroots campaign making big strides into communities. YES funding is 85% from within Scotland and more and more pop up ‘town hall’ discussions are taking place. Despite a deliberate lack of MSM coverage the YES campaign I believe has been very successful because it empowers people to do it themselves. You have to ask yourself why has Gordon Brown started up a separate campaign from Better Together? Simply, it’s because he knows the actual situation regarding Better Together and he has panicked.

    Better Together do not have a grassroots campaign. Most of their funding comes from outwith Scotland. Puff polls are commissioned with the ‘correct’ figures to provide the MSM with a ‘creditable’ impression that BT are winning. The negativity is getting more hysterical and panicked induced which is not the attitude of a winning team. Better Together are infiltrated by extremists from other groups such as DUP/Orange Order, BNP, NF, EDL and UKIP which bolsters the viciousness of comments on newspaper and other websites and puts more pressure on A. Darling. BT’s prime arguments have fallen by the wayside one by one as their campaign continues, to the point of delivering the ridiculous 500 question which includes “how much will the price of a stamp will be?” Better Together are spending a lot of money hiring Blue State Digital to try and claw back ground lost to the YES campaign, not to consolidate their ‘winning’ position.

    Better Together are losing and they know it! But the YES campaign can’t be complacent for one minute. This is a struggle right to the end. There is a lot of hard ground work to do and that also needs funding. For YES the only way is up and a continual gradual POSITIVE case for Independence will deliver it!

  17. Chic McGregor says:

    I suppose one thing the Lab, LibDem and Tory parties have going for them, besides the unquestioning support of the MSM, is that they all occupy the same part of the political spectrum (marred only by occasional bickering over who has the bragging rights for shifting more to the right in the previous month).
     
    Even when there is what should be blatantly obvious danger of a schism, like Gordon Brown entering stage right (left?) to split Labour NO supporters from, err… Labour NO supporters, this is simply dealt with by being ignored by the MSM.   It didn’t happen.  Nothing to see here, move along.
     
    When something cannot be ignored, Plan B is distortion. e.g.  The non violent heckling  Farrage was subjected to by a mixture of pro indy, pro Union, Scots, English and other demonstrators, which is a legal right under the Freedom of Expression section of the  European Convention on Human Rights, was converted by our compliant cabal into racist/violent abuse by SNP/Yes supporters.  Seemples.

  18. The Man in the Jar says:

    I am with Alpinal on this. I know the score regarding the Yes strategy. Perhaps confidence in Yes is influenced depending on location. I read of Yes events across the country being well attended, a Yes campaign centre open five days a week. In my dreams! Yes have zero profile in my area. I have spotted about three Yes stickers on cars in the last month or two. No local Yes meetings (I check regularly) it is easy to feel downhearted from time to time. Outside my close circle of friends I know of no one that intends to vote Yes and many that are hostile to the idea.
    Getting back to the Yes campaign I think that they are doing the right thing with one big but. I wish that they would be more pro active when it comes to responding to lies and scare stories from BT and or MSM BBC. Yes should use it to push their message and not turn the other cheek, I understand just how difficult this is with a hostile media but I do think that they could try harder.

  19. Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:

    @handclaping
     
    I obviously did not make myself understood.  I don’t want politics by soundbite either.  I do not want “Politics” in the referendum debate at all. That is for AFTER the referendum is won.  What I want if for the “Soundbite” to come from YES Scotland every time they are asked about POLICY to be “This is NOT a vote on policy options, it’s a vote on WHO gets to make the policy.  People in Scotland or MPs in Westminster”.  (someone better than me can determine the exact phrase). What we have now is Blair Jenkins trying to say he is not a politician, but then going on to ‘defend’ a policy. Mixed message.
     
    But, perhaps my view is too blinkered as I am not “on the ground” I am just a Scot who is working outwith Scotland.  But it’s still MY country as well, and I could not bear the thought that we lose by a narrow margin because the YES representatives allowed the message to be manipulated by the MSM/BBC.  We lose in 2014, I fear for my country. 

  20. BuckieBraes says:

    I was talking yesterday to a pessimistic work colleague who believes the referendum is already lost because ‘most people have made their minds up’. I disagree with this point of view, because in my perception the number of people firmly opposed to independence is proportionately small. Everyone else is open to persuasion, and many haven’t even begun to think about it yet.
     
    People are also full of surprises and contradictions. I’ve encountered diehard ‘bluenoses’ who know all the words to the Sash, yet are firm supporters of independence. There are those who have served with pride in the UK armed forces, but support independence. What I have yet to come across is an individual whom I thought would be a natural YES supporter, but isn’t.
     
    Anyway, I am in the process of conducting a (highly unscientific, admittedly!) opinion poll among railway workers in the Perthshire and Dundee areas and at the moment YES is winning on a ratio of about 3 to 1.
     
     

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    The problem with wanting Yes Scotland to be responding to the various bullshit we see put out by BetterTogether and repeated verbatim in the media, is that this allows unionists to dictate the narrative. The lies and negativity they put out works amongst their own supporters, but your ordinary person on the doorstep knows fine that a lot of it is rubbish.
     
    It’s not the latest scare story we’re battling against here – it’s years of people being told that Scotland couldn’t afford to be an independent country. The undecided voters I’ve come across on doorsteps aren’t saying “but what about this thing Alistair Darling said recently?”, they’re saying the same “but can we afford it?” they’ve been saying for years.
     
    To be honest, I sometimes think the best thing Yes Scotland could do is simply behave as if BetterTogether doesn’t exist. The kind of “ignore them and they’ll stop” advice you give to a kid who’s being picked on at school. Well, in this case BT won’t stop, but they’ll just become more and more ludicrous, destroying their own arguments in the process. For instance, Magz Curran didn’t need an opposite number from the Yes campaign to make her look like a complete idiot on the radio yesterday – she did it all by herself.
     
    The union is having to do something it’s never had to do in its 306-year existence: justify itself. Unsurprisingly, it simply can’t do it. So as people start to see the truth about it, Yes Scotland is waiting patiently in the wings to say “here’s what we could have instead…”
     
    The thing I found most interesting about Blair Jenkins’ recent interview on Scotland Tonight was that he said they know what they’re going to be doing for every single month between now and the referendum. Does anyone think BetterTogether have that level of planning? Some of the stuff they’ve come out with so far this year – and the fact they’ve already started repeating things they came out with only a few months ago – suggests to me that their campaign is just a case of “get out as much pish as you can as quickly as possible.”

  22. Red squirrel says:

    The YES campaign are slowly gaining numbers and this solid support is to be welcomed. We have a very long way to go yet but this journey is to our advantage – a consistent, positive and aspirational message stands up well to a fragmented, dysfunctional, daily mail appeasing and increasingly hysterical barrage of scaremongering (most of which wouldn’t convince a stuffed badger) and must surely improve the chances of a YES vote.
     
    But I must confess, I too fear for my country in a NO vote – this won’t be a feartie vote for the warm security of the status quo: It will be an unknown leap into the abyss of lost hope. I’m not sure I could bear to stay here if we as a nation cannot embrace this wonderful opportunity we are being handed. How could we look future generations in the eye and say “we voted against taking charge of our future….”?

  23. handclapping says:

    @Aplinal
    It may have been a long year for us but folk are only just begining to have the referendum on their radar. There are a whole lot of people who don’t feel they should vote in the referendum as they have never voted in any election and Im not sure that your message will enthuse them to change, whereas a whole raft of possibilities might. It is noticeable how much better the reaction is in our area when people get Yes leaflets along with ones from Labour 4 Indy and messages from our local Socialists.
    As to “loosing” the referendum, at 44/36 No is only going to get 55% not enough to stop the neverendum and time enough for Westminster to shew that their status quo and/or improved devolution is hogswash. Scotland will be free of them the next time and there will be a next time. Probably not for me but my 50 years will not have been wasted. We had had an MP for 4 months and we had all of a dozen councillors then, look at us now and stop worrying.

  24. fitheach says:

    @The Man in the Jar
    In my dreams! Yes have zero profile in my area.
     
    So, do something about it.
     
    Yes is a grassroots campaign. The people running the Campaign in Glasgow don’t have the resources to identify gaps in Yes events and start creating them. It is up to supporters across the country to get the message out. Sign the Declaration and then create an event. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of people giving encouragement and offering support once you start talking to the public.
     

  25. Davy says:

    I was encouraged this week after meeting a young lady from my party at the train station who told me she had just completed her YES ambassador training down south and would be running futher ambassador courses in our area shortly, two days later the SNP agent gives me a call with the date of the first course. The YES campaign is working and they are building their support from the ground up.

    In the past week we have seen “Business For Scotland” commit to independence and I see full page advertisments in todays Sunday Papers from them, with a “Let Scotland Thrive. Vote YES” message, its fantastic.

    All I have seen from the NO campaign is the usual negative tripe and every time they come out with another so-called big scare story it gets flattened very quickly and people are noticing that they are repeating the same shite and that I believe is starting to wear thin.

    I dont know about the rest of you but I have never heard of even one person changing from the Yes side to the NO side but I do know people who were adamant they were voting NO last year and are firmly in the YES camp now.

    We still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead of us, the No campaign have nowhere to go and nothing new to say, lets just concentrate on getting our positive message out there, and by working, speaking, and encouraging together, we will forge a Thriving Scotland.
     
    Alba Gu Brath.   

  26. mealer says:

    I’m quite happy with my efforts so far.I’m on track,I think.I’m sure most other campaigners are too.I have quite a few ideas to bring on as the campaign progresses.At the moment,its all about encouraging people to think about the debate.Sowing a few seeds in the back of their minds.It is part of the NO camps strategy to try to spread despondency among YES activists.Dont fall for it!There is plenty of sound evidence to show a substantial majority of people would like Scotland to be independent.But a large number of them fear we cant afford to be.And it will all just be too complicated.Too difficult.Too scary.Its up to us to reassure them.To open their minds to the possibility.I have made a few converts,but I have many more “works in progress”. The media,which is about the extent of the NO campaign,will continue to try to undermine folks confidence.When it comes down to it,this is a battle between the MSM and word of mouth.Sow a few seeds in the minds of a few people every day.

  27. The Man in the Jar says:

    @fitheach
    I knew someone would say that. “So, do something about it.” To be honest I have thought about it however my concern is that due to zero profile and apparent total lack of support my fear would be that any Yes meeting would be so poorly attended that it would be more like “The Tooting Popular Front” than an independence movement.
    In the meantime I am keeping an ear to the ground and watching local opinion. I think that I may even have to wait till next year before getting serious regarding the campaign.

  28. Angus McPhee says:

    “the referendum is NOT about policy, it is about who and where policy is developed and implemented.”
    Well summed up
    Unfortunately this is not the way most people see it and the fact is that there is an built in (and necessary) level of uncertainty that many are scared of. It’s absolutely imposable to say what policies will be in an independent Scotland (Not least because it could possibly be Unionist parties implementing them)
    Of course the great thing  about that is that the opportunity exists to insist that Labour in particular tell us what they will do if elected after a Yes vote thereby putting them in the position of :

    Refusing to tell us
    Admit that things will be an improvement if they are in power or
    Admit that they are not competent to run the country.

    The latter being the strongest argument for a no vote and of course one they can’t make.
    At a slight tangent, I’m comparing it to an exam that you don’t feel completely confident you can pass after actually doing all the work. You can drop out and not take the exam, Attend and walk out after twenty minutes or stick it to the end and do the best you can.You still don’t know you will pass but you have the best chance.
     
     

  29. Angus McPhee says:

    “Very few undecided people who have come into our YES centre in Dunoon (open five days a week) have left without a YES badge firmly pinned on and I can detect no movement at all the other way.”
    These however are people looking for an answer and prepared to seek it out can we be sure the same thing is not happening over at BT? What about those who are not motivated on the subject?

  30. CameronB says:

    Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:
    26 May, 2013 at 2:05 pm
    @handclaping
     
    “….I do not want “Politics” in the referendum debate at all. That is for AFTER the referendum is won.  What I want if for the “Soundbite” to come from YES Scotland every time they are asked about POLICY to be “This is NOT a vote on policy options, it’s a vote on WHO gets to make the policy.  People in Scotland or MPs in Westminster”.
     
    Absolutely. Not had time to read all the other comments and it may seem too obvious to need restating, but it does. IMO, this is a critical aspect of the referendum as it should cut across all party allegiances. I am sure we will see the Yes campaign make a big issue of this following the White Paper. I hope.

  31. mealer says:

    Angus McPhee
    that’s a very good point.Over the next sixteen months we’ll have to make sure we persuade a lot of the people who have no interest in politics to take an interest on this occasion.Thats why it has to be much broader and deeper than a traditional political campaign.

  32. Angus McPhee says:

    “Anyway, I am in the process of conducting a (highly unscientific, admittedly!) opinion poll among railway workers in the Perthshire and Dundee areas and at the moment YES is winning on a ratio of about 3 to 1.”

    Does that include drivers?

  33. BuckieBraes says:

    Angus McPhee says:
    Does that include drivers?
     
    Ah, I see where you’re coming from…no, mostly signallers.

  34. Vronsky says:

    “Interestingly one lady suggested that if all Yes supporters wore a badge every day that this would make a difference.”

    That lady was Vronksy’s wife.  I feel you ought to have mentioned that she is a strikingly beautiful Californian.  She worked on many Democrat campaigns in the US, and is very much up and at ‘em, no prisoners.  Her enthusiasm is a permanent embarrassment to me.  While I was sitting blushing, several people came by and said that she was right – wear the badge, and people will come up and talk to you.  All déja vu for her.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umcEYz9LJm8

  35. AnneDon says:

    @ The Man In The Jar
    I would suggest that, if you can’t set up a meeting yourself (and I couldn’t!) do this:  contact your local SNP and Green groups, and ask them for help in arranging a meeting. (You could also look at Facebook – depending where you live, there might be a local football club independence group!)
    Party organisations can help to get a speaker. You can then put the event on the Yes website. You will probably find others, like you, have been waiting for someone to do ‘something’ in your area!
    After that, the group can decide what you all want to do. Some people will leaflet doors;  others will turn up for stalls in the high street;  we’re about to cascade our ambassador training at our monthly meeting. (New technology means communication is much faster, and we find a monthly meeting is all we need)
    There was an Edinburgh-wide meeting, which is how we were separated into groups. Other sub-groups in Edinburgh have arranged ‘launch’ meetings – there was a very successful South Edinburgh launch on Friday.  Our group have decided we would rather spend our energy organising stalls, and we’re hoping to start canvassing soon. Neither is right or wrong, but each group can decide its own strategy.
    I hope this is some help to you.
    Don’t worry – we’re everywhere! There are other Yessers near you – you just have to reach out, I’m sure!

  36. AnneDon says:

    As regards the size of the vote:  I haven’t met anyone who was going to vote Yes and has decided to vote No.
    I know a number of Don’t knows who are now Yessers. And a number of Noes who have moved to Don’t know.
    We have to get the facts out there. IMO, the best way to do this is to get out on the streets, with stalls, etc. Always have voter registration forms with you – many of those most enthusiastic about indy are not actually registered to vote!
    We need to be visible, if someone thinks there’s nothing happening in their area, and see the stall, they may well get involved in that way – not everyone is online, after all.

  37. The Man in the Jar says:

    To all the “shiny happy people” that have added comments, your optimism is heart-warming a big thank you. Unfortunately it won’t make the slightest difference. My original comment was that it was dependant on geographical / political area that is making a difference to the tone of the debate. I live in the dark heart of a Labour fiefdom MP= Labour, MSP= Labour Council Labour. Any attempt at engaging in conversation regarding independence is met with a similar reaction to persuading someone that 9/11 was a CIA fit-up, or that the Americans never went to the moon. A typical response to a question about independence would get a reply similar to. “Independence over my dead body, I don’t know what I will do if that Alex Salmond gets in. I will emigrate or something. I have watched him on that First Ministers Questions giving that nice Johann Lamont a hard time. Id love to wipe that smug grin off his face”. I have tried and tried with very little success to engage but it is a bit like banging your head against a brick wall. I will have to wait till the campaign gathers much more momentum around here before people will even talk about it.
    I am sorry but from where I am sitting a “shiny happy” Yes campaign still seems a long way off.

  38. Albert Herring says:

    @The Man in the Jar
    I don’t know where you live, but it surely can’t be that bad given that the SNP took around 40% of the vote in all the constituencies won by Labour in 2011, other than Eastwood & Dumfriesshire, where they only managed c.25% due to the high Tory vote. There must be like-minded souls around!

  39. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Albert Herring
    I’m in South Lanarkshire. My MP is Jimmy Hood (Lab) majority 13,478, 50% of the vote. (SNP got 21% of vote)
    My MSP is Michael McMahon (Lab) majority 4,865, 48.6% of vote. (SNP Alex Neil got 29.4% of the vote.)
    “Good here init!”

  40. Anna Ningin Eenana says:

    I’ve been wearing ‘the badge’ daily for more than six months. I’m aware that people glance at it. However, the only comments I’ve had are ‘ I’m in the SNP, like you’ ( I’m not) and ‘Why is your badge upside down, does that mean ‘No’? (It had turned).
     

  41. Anna Ningin Eenana says:

    Nor have I seen anyone else wearing a badge, and I’ve only managed to give away one after ‘herself’ refused to wear it.
    So, as far as I can tell, most folk are just not interested enough.
    I think it’s time for ‘YES’ to change gear.
     

  42. Angus McPhee says:

    The Man in the Jar
    I’d think this is a problem with (Let’s call them) the Labour Heartlands Lanarkshire and Fife in particular where people vote in line with old allegiances gained from their parent’s political aspirations, something quite different to what the Labour party stands for today (if indeed it continues to stand for anything apart for getting elected)
    The key I’m afraid is somehow to Convince people that what the Labour party once stood for is more likely to be achieved by voting yes than doing what the Labour party is telling you should be done. A daunting task!

  43. Shinty says:

    The Man in the Jar
    Just a thought, maybe you could get some help from the Labour for Independence group, are there any in your area?
     
    I know a lot of people still associate independence and the Yes campaign with Alex Salmond and the SNP. Also have McMahon or the others ever done anything positive for your area, sometimes just pointing out some wee things can help to plant the seed.
     
     

  44. Silverytay says:

    The Man in the Jar       
    I now work & live in North Lanarkshire which again like South Lanarkshire is a labour fiefdom but I am now starting to find that some people are beginning to ask questions .
    I have two yes signs on the back windscreen of my car , I also have a couple of posters that I made up on my office wall and recently there have been a few people at my work asking me where they can get more information .
    These people have came to me with no prompting on my part and I have pointed them in the direction of wings and newsnet .
    As the old saying goes  out of little acorns mighty oaks grow .
    I am confident that by the time the referendum comes around the small trickle of people into the YES camp will have become a flood .
    I would also like to say that after seeing the panic & hysteria within the NO Scotland campaign over the last couple of weeks , I am convinced that there is something going on in the ground campaign that we are not aware of yet .

  45. Caroline Corfield says:

    i find that my incredulity that someone would vote NO primarily because they don’t like Salmond sometimes makes people stop and think even if its just a flicker. You follow it up with the fact there will be new elections directly after independence, where anyone who doesn’t like Salmond will get to show it. If they say then, ah but he’ll get in, then you have to ask what’s wrong with democracy that they don’t like the results? You’ve got to make people think, and make them behave like adults, which is pretty difficult because they’ve been treated like children for so long, who are told what’s good for them and given no choices. But like children they will respond well to being asked to behave like adults and given choices. The worse thing to do is react to them like children and tell them stuff, they’ll just ignore it. Make them think instead, ask them questions with the information you want to get across embedded inside it.

  46. Albert Herring says:

    @The Man in the Jar
    I think you’ll find that was 2007, however things are definitely looking up as Richard Lyle SNP got 43.3% in 2011. Just needs 1.41% swing next time to turf McMahon out!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uddingston_and_Bellshill_%28Scottish_Parliament_constituency%29#Election_results

  47. The Man in the Jar says:

    Thanks to all that have responded with positive messages. Especially Silvertay (good luck with North Lanarkshire) ;-)
    First off I am retired so no workplace to campaign in (anyway when I did work it was in local government and any overt political display was very much frowned upon) I no longer socialise in pubs so that’s out as well. It is only folk that I meet locally mostly when walking the dog that I attempt to engage with and in six months of trying I have yet to meet anyone who is not a 100% committed no voter with whom I cant even get past the word “referendum”.
    Getting back to my original comment. I just wanted to make the point that the comments from folk that are having a very positive campaign should not think that it is not the same all over Scotland. Some of the comments seem rather naive from my viewpoint.

  48. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Albert Herring
    Thanks for the correction!

  49. The Man in the Jar says:

    Too late to edit.
    Second from bottom line in my comment @ 10:28 one to many “not`s”
    (Wee embarasedfacethingy)

  50. Braco says:

    The Man In The Jar,
    I am from Motherwell and I know where you are coming from. The thing to remember, no matter how outnumbered you feel in your particular SLAB ‘heartland’, that this is a referendum and not an election so every YES (and NO) vote will count irrespective of the area it comes from.
     
    So if you just keep plugging away and gain even just one convert it will make a difference. It may not feel like it, but it will.
     
    That’s why sites like this one are so important to spread support and encouragement around from folk working the more positive areas to folk who are labouring away in the less fertile (but equally important) ground for YES votes.
     
    It’s disheartening I know but all we can do is keep an eye on the big picture. Keep banging your head against that SLAB and you will get your rewards in heaven. (unsuresmily)

  51. a supporter says:

    I have no problem whatsoever about the conflation of the YES campaign and the SNP and I believe too many on the YES side worry far too much about that. It is a fact that the SNP is seen by the public as being and having been the prime movers for years in the fight for Scottish Independence and that will not change now notwithstanding that  there are many other organisations now involved who are striving for the same end. And the public is aware of that latter fact too.

  52. Shinty says:

    a supporter says:
    27 May, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I have no problem whatsoever about the conflation of the YES campaign and the SNP and I believe too many on the YES side worry far too much about that.
     
    The whole point is we are trying to reach out to the No’s & DK’s, many of which still believe (albeit misguided) that a Yes vote is a vote for Alex Salmond and the SNP.
     

  53. a supporter says:

    I’m one of the sceptics who believes that whatever it is that the YES Campaign is doing, it is not effective enough. Although I have noticed that the SNP and YES Campaign have upped the rhetoric over the past few weeks, and quite effective it has been too, with in one instance Alex Salmond threatening to leave UK with all the debt. That seemed to take the wind out of the NO campaign and left them blustering, not knowing what to say.
    And while I agree that the polls mustn’t be taken too seriously at this stage. The YES vote has been stalled at around 33% for over a year now. Surely with all the work being carried out at the grass roots we should be seeing the beginning of a drift upwards, particularly with all the dreadful political calamities hitting Westminster and the NO mob?  

  54. a supporter says:

    Shinty says:27 May, 2013 at 12:18 pm
     
    @ a supporter I have no problem whatsoever about the conflation of the YES campaign and the SNP and I believe too many on the YES side worry far too much about that.
    @shinty The whole point is we are trying to reach out to the No’s & DK’s, many of which still believe (albeit misguided) that a Yes vote is a vote for Alex Salmond and the SNP. 
    So what? They also know it is a vote for Independence. Methinks you are falling into the same trap as the NO camp in believing that the Scottish Electorate is stupid.

  55. Braco says:

    a supporter,
    Methinks you are falling into the trap betterNO think they are setting.

  56. Silverytay says:

    a supporter   
    I would not trust an opinion poll as far as I could throw it .
    The NO Scotland campaign are not going to publish an opinion poll which shows support for independence on the increase , they would rather pretend that there is no desire for independence in Scotland and that could prove to be one of their biggest mistakes .

  57. a supporter says:

    Braco says: 27 May, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Methinks you are falling into the trap betterNO think they are setting.
    A ridiculous remark.

  58. a supporter says:

    Silverytay says: 27 May, 2013 at 12:50 pm

     
    I would not trust an opinion poll as far as I could throw it .

    The NO Scotland campaign are not going to publish an opinion poll which shows support for independence on the increase , they would rather pretend that there is no desire for independence in Scotland and that could prove to be one of their biggest mistakes .
    I despair when I read guff like this. The companies who do these polls are fiercely independent. If they weren’t they wouldn’t get any business. Polls can be wrong because they don’t pick up late or sudden shifts in opinion, or because turnout for parties can have a major bearing on the results, like in the 2011 election, but I doubt if bona fide professional pollsters would cheat.
     

  59. scottish_skier says:

    but I doubt if bona fide professional pollsters would cheat.
    No, that would surprise me too. What we’ve had recently is a lot of polls by both TNS and MORI. Both of these historically have been at odds with ICM, Angus Reid, Comres etc due to outdated methodologies (landline telephone, either for questioning, or for arranging a face to face).  In contrast, we have Panelbase – at odds with these two – which has historically agreed with those I’ve listed as it uses more up to date sampling methodologies. 
    It’s a pity we didn’t have a monthly poll from all companies. That would give a far better picture of the situation.
    As for BT. They seem to ignore the fact that you can see a rise in X between two polls but the trend for X is falling…

  60. Braco says:

     
    a supporter says:
    27 May, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Braco says: 27 May, 2013 at 12:36 pm
    Methinks you are falling into the trap betterNO think they are setting.

    A ridiculous remark.
     

    ………..
    I despair when I read guff like this.
     

      

  61. Shinty says:

    a supporter says
    So what? They also know it is a vote for Independence. Methinks you are falling into the same trap as the NO camp in believing that the Scottish Electorate is stupid.
    Think what you like, that is not what I said nor implied, but then again methinks you know that already.



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