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The convertibles and the others

Posted on September 08, 2013 by

As we’ve already noted today, those who don’t currently support independence can be split into two groups: those who can be persuaded to support it, and those who can’t.

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For the purposes of winning the referendum it’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two, so as to avoid wasting time trying to convert the non-convertible, and spend our time instead on those who can be persuaded to vote Yes.

Here’s a wee analogy. Imagine someone asks you if you fancy coming out for a drink after work, and you say “No”. They’ll ask you why not, and you might say “Och, I’ve got to make my tea when I get home, and I’ve got to put the washing on as well.”

In reply, your friend says “That’s okay, we’re having pizza round at mine, so you don’t need to cook anything; and you’ve got all weekend to do your washing!”

Now, if those had been your genuine reasons for not going out, you’ll say “Aye, you’re right – what time will I come round?” But if they were just excuses, you’ll maybe say “Yeah but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to, err, water the garden and, erm, I was out last week and it’s not payday until next week, and, erm, erm, my going-out trousers are in the wash, and, and…”

The excuses will continue, no matter how many times your friend offers a solution, because none of them are the actual reason why you don’t want to go out. So why don’t you just tell the truth and say why you don’t want to go out?

The answer is usually simple – it’s either a rubbish reason (“I’m not coming out because I just don’t feel like it”) or you know the reason will reflect badly on you (“I’m not coming out because, to be perfectly honest, I’d rather stay in and play video games than hear about your dull lives all night.”)

And so it is with those who don’t currently support independence. Some will have genuine reasons and concerns for not supporting it, most likely the result of years of media brainwashing telling us we’re too wee, too poor and too stupid to be an independent country. They don’t actually have any ideological opposition to independence, so if their concerns can be addressed, they’ll come over to our side.

But others will come out with a never-ending list of excuses (maybe as many as 500), and in the unlikely event that you do manage to exhaust their list, perhaps you’ll finally reach the real reason they’re not going to vote Yes: “Because I think I might lose a couple of quid” or “Because I’m scared of change” or “Because I don’t consider Scotland to be a country.”

So it’s important to identify non-convertibles quickly, and that’s why it’s good to start off by asking people to imagine how they would vote if there were no roadblocks to prevent us becoming independent. After all, the question being asked next year is not Could Scotland be an independent country?” The question we’re being asked (and hopefully voting Yes to) is: Should Scotland be an independent country?”

But be careful, because there’s a complicating factor, in the form of a group that belongs to one camp while masquerading as the other – those who claim to be undecided, but have a list of impossible demands which must be satisfied or they’ll vote No, because they’re not prepared to settle for getting 70% of what they want.

For these people it’s 100% or nothing, and you’ve got no chance. But luckily you can spot them, because they’re invariably characterised by demands for a “better debate”.

Much hand-wringing goes on in certain sectors of the media and blogosphere about how we need a “better” debate around independence, and a great deal of it consists of lazy platitudes, by people content simply to cast aspersions on the current state of affairs without actually offering up alternatives.

A particularly popular way of expressing this malaise is to wish a plague on both houses, by saying that both Yes and No are just as bad as each other. A cynical way of looking at this is to think of it as essentially being shorthand for “Look at how wonderfully non-partisan I am, blaming both sides for the poor state of affairs”, but whatever the motives, it helps nobody – if anything, it does more damage.

The problem with the “they’re both as bad as each other” line is that it’s simply not true, and it falls squarely into a key trap laid by the anti-independence campaign. A huge part of No camp tactics is to turn people off debate entirely, because debate has an uncomfortable habit of both bringing out facts, and encouraging people to think of independence as a genuine and normal alternative.

They don’t WANT us to be debating independence, so the fewer people taking part, the better. That’s why they don’t turn up at events and demand Yes campaigners are banned as a result. It’s why they censor a vast percentage of comments on their websites. It’s why Alistair Darling refuses to participate in public debate with anyone on the Yes Scotland team.

“They’re both as bad as each other” sends out two messages: to the No campaign, it says their tactics are working, because by acting in this manner, they’re managing to drag the reputation of the Yes side with them; to the undecided voters not currently taking part in the debate, it says that you won’t get any sense out of either side, so you might as well continue ignoring them.

If people genuinely want to see improvement, they need to be truthful about who the obstacle to that is. Last week’s Scotland Tonight debate on welfare was a prime example. Anas Sarwar’s ignorant, insidious and insulting performance was so ugly that even anti-independence newspaper journalists were slagging it off, yet you could still see the same lazy tweets about both sides being just as bad, even though Nicola Sturgeon would have stood a better chance of getting a proper debate out of someone who answered every question with “Yer maw”.

Are the No campaign going to change their ways because people have claimed both sides were awful? No – it’s a job well done as far as they’re concerned. Meanwhile the Yes campaign is tarred with the same brush, through no fault of its own.

A less damaging (but no less wearisome) constant refrain from some quarters is that there are no “spaces” for undecided voters to debate, with the debate being polarised between Yes and No. Again, we’ll sidestep the issue that it’s kind of inevitable that a debate on a Yes/No referendum is going to become polarised between the only two available options. We’ll also ignore the fact that this criticism tends to be just another way of saying “they’re both as bad as each other”, despite it being the fault of one side entirely that what’s supposedly the most popular option isn’t even on the ballot paper.

(And let’s even ignore the fact that the only reason “Devo Max” is supposedly so popular is because, like all middle-options, it would have allowed people to express an opinion on an issue, without having to get off the fence one way or another.)

No, the criticism here is simply this: instead of berating the existing campaigns that their approach to the debate is too polarising and that undecided voters are being squeezed out (presumably because they’re all such delicate flowers who get scared off if they so much as get a whiff of two people they don’t know arguing about something on the internet), why not go ahead and create these “spaces” yourself, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you? Surely a debate about independence versus dependency is exactly the environment for people to do it themselves instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them?

(Unless, of course, it’s simply a trendy way of copping out and sticking with the status quo instead, as if to say “I could have voted Yes if someone would have bothered to engage with me, but you didn’t, so I’m voting No in a huff.”)

So the next time you see someone bemoaning the state of the independence debate, ask them how they would improve it, and why they’re not doing it already – and remember, “I’ve written a blog about it” isn’t a good enough answer. (The irony of that last sentence is noted. But then, I’m not the one doing the complaining.)

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107 to “The convertibles and the others”

  1. Finlay Thewlis says:

    General point: It’s hard to have a ‘better debate’ when bettertogether/unionist side don’t want to be having it in the first place and on top of that run a negative campaign. Hence the running joke ‘Still waiting on the the positive case for the union’.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    I’m appalled that you changed “ma” to “maw” there, Stu. That was written in Aberdonian!
     
    Bloody editors…

  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I’m appalled that you changed “ma” to “maw” there, Stu. That was written in Aberdonian!”

    I’m racist. You knew that – Euan McColm said so.

  4. annie says:

    Well said Doug – there isn’t a single point I would disagree with in your article.

  5. Geoff Huijer says:

    Good article Doug!
     
    The stifling of debate does only benefit one side and as you rightly point out that is exactly why they are doing it.

  6. benarmine says:

    An excellent summing up of their tactics DD. Helps me rationalise that screaming in my head when I expect a straight answer from any No spokesperson.

  7. Iain says:

    Agree with your piece Doug, with the proviso that there are some possible/probable Yes voters who do the lack-of-debate, hand-wringing thing as a form of procrastination. Gerry Hassan must have written the same piece twenty times about lack of vision and the poor level of debate, but unless Labour have a collective frontal lobotomy and morality transplant, I’m 99% sure he’d be voting Yes. It would be nice if he could come out and admit it more than a week before the referendum though!

  8. ianbrotherhood says:

    The serial offenders who write on litmus paper know who they are, and we know who they are, and it’s becoming wearying to witness them chuntering on and on and on when we know that the punchline, yet again, will be – ‘we need a proper debate’.
     
    We know that. We’ve been doing our level best to conduct the debate, but the opposite side couldn’t be more like a brick wall if it tried. If some of the well-kent fence-sitters would have the decency to STFU, that might create a wee bit of space for those who have something to say.

  9. Juteman says:

    A convertible isn’t really suitable for Scottish weather, so best get a car designed for our climate, and not one designed for sunnier, southern climes.

  10. gavin lessells says:

    Uncharacteristically, for BBC Scotland that is, Ken MacDonald on “Headlines” at 0900 this morning was doing his level best to balance the debate. He has already on previous programmes drawn attention to the fact that the majority of the Scottish newspapers are anti Independence.
    This morning he went a little further and actually quoted a head line from Newsnet Scotland and mentioned a few other pro Indy blogs while he was at it.
    I realise that 0900 on a Sunday morning does not encourage a large audience unlike monday to friday when we are regaled by tabloid radio in the shape of Gary Robertson and Kaye Adams.
    Still, it is a start and Ken deserves a bigger audience.

  11. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I know that Scotland’s oil is not at the centre of the YES argument for independence and I agree that we don’t need to use it as a central point of any argument. However, shooting myself in the foot here :lol:, I found the following article over on Tris’s site discussing the Norwegian factor regarding their oil sector and I think anyone arguing for the retention of the union have more than a few questions to answer concerning our oil receipts.
     
    www.munguinsrepublic.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/this-you-see-is-kind-of-mess-you-get.html
     
    As tris points out Norway has an Oil Fund that is estimated to reach NOK 4.3 TRILLION (£458,616,144,000) by the close of 2014. They also have a Pension Fund that was worth NOK 106.9 BILLION (£11,161,058,000) in 2006, the latest figures Tris could find. As everyone knows the British equivalent figures for the British Oil Fund and Pension Fund are, erm £0 and erm £0!
     
    Perhaps the time has come to start pressurising the unionists to explain in detail exactly why, If oil was discovered in the Scottish and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea at the same time, what possible explanations there could possibly be for Norway’s massive oil and pension funds whilst Scotland, currently UK, has absolutely NOTHING in any fund oil or pension related.
     
     
     
     
     

  12. ianbrotherhood says:

    When the No Scotland campaign’s own Communications Head can come out with the following, what hope is there for ‘a proper debate’? –
     
    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/7986-anger-as-better-together-chief-gloats-over-ricky-burns-pumping

     

  13. The problem with our current strategy is that winning votes on the ground is a long slow process. A lot of people are doing a great job to win over undecideds and doubters but until we find a way to get at least balanced coverage from the mainstream media on a regular basis then the conversion rate is going to be too slow.
    There is an old adage that “a week is a long time in politics” well maybe YES SCOTLAND should hope that it doesn’t become “a year is a short time in Scottish politics”.

  14. Murray McCallum says:

    ianbrotherhood
    Shocking comments from the better together prat.  While I do not like boxing myself I have total respect for the people who do it.  It takes incredible self disciple and guts. It also doesn’t help having a broken jaw for most of the fight.
    Apparently the No to Scotland campaign prat is on a salary of £100K! Money for nothing eh?

  15. Brian Powell says:

    Sarwar did the ‘want answers’ then didn’t answer any, repeatedly with Nicola Sturgeon.
    I wrote a comment in the Herald a few days ago about the media and democracy. It was the first time I had been moderated. They didn’t block but edited a paragraph out. before publishing.
    I asked what had the media to gain by biased reporting, excepting the Herald in general terms. But I pointed out that the editors of papers and the BBC would consider themselves democratic, and they would want to live in a democratic society. That our democracy survives by a fair representation of views in our society. So what in the bigger sense would be gained by giving only one side, reporting uncritically every comment and statement by proUnion politicians and commentators.
    This is a general summary of what I asked, the rest about society was left in.

  16. Doug Daniel says:

    Iain – as a matter of fact I had just finished reading Gerry’s most recent article before a started tapping away at my keyboard. However, I class Gerry as someone who offers ideas for alternatives, rather than just moaning for the sake of moaning, therefore he’s not in the firing line here. It’s more about “undecideds” who bleat endlessly about the need for “spaces” for various minority groups to debate, but then don’t actually suggest what that should be, or even going ahead and doing it themselves.
     
    Criticism is cheap unless you’re offering something constructive, that’s basically what I’m saying. Too many people are just adopting other people’s criticisms as a way of either looking contemplative, or simply to avoid having to justify their own refusal to properly engage. Or as Alan Partridge might put it, “sorry, that was just a noise.”

  17. HandandShrimp says:

    On the plus side it is £100,000 of Better Together’s money that is going to their communications (really?) expert. May they spend the rest of it as wisely.
     
    I’m not interested in Shorthouse’s anti-Scottish cringe, one must assume he was pished or something but I see Ashcroft has been splashing money on polls again and is expecting to ruffle feathers when it is published in the Holywood Magazine tomorrow. Ashcroft is another poisoned chalice for Labour to sup from but then what isn’t these days?

  18. Davie says:

    Aye….yer no jist a hairy face in a box Doug. Thats a fair round up of events. Jist wish half the fowks roon here could see it like that.

  19. Red squirrel says:

    I feel sad for those too uncertain about their own country to be able to make a decision and angry at how poorly served they are by the very sources of information they should be able to rely upon. Naive? Perhaps but it was so easy for me to believe in the possibilities for independence and it must be agonising for those genuinely unsure. 
     
    I have mixed feelings about whether more information is the answer – for some that may work but more important is the confidence to say actually yes we can do better at making our own decisions than others. Perhaps those unsure will feel more confident to vote yes when they see just how many yeses there are out there already. Maybe the pace is slow but maybe the genuinely undecideds need it to be.

  20. Albert Herring says:

    we need a proper debate’.
     
    We are having a proper debate. It’s happening on here and elsewhere – Common Weal, RIC, etc, etc. It’s about the sort of country we want to build.
     
    Better Together clearly don’t want to take part, and that’s why they’ll lose.

  21. ianbrotherhood says:

    @DD-
     
    Agreed. ‘Undecided’ can be used by some as a cover for ‘can’t be arsed finding out anything for myself’, but it doesn’t help when they have a reliably non-committal stable of self-appointed ‘experts’ and pundits to cite by way of back-up.
     
    Reminds me of a pal (a decent bloke at college back in the 80s) who was so utterly incapable of exercising his own judgement that he would digest huge amounts of reviews – books, music, movies, food, clothes, whatever – in order to have ‘opinions’. We used to joke about it, and he openly admitted to being very insecure about his own intelligence, didn’t trust himself to make decisions about the most basic things – asking him what he thought of x, y or z was a form of torture for the bloke, as if he constantly feared being tricked or made a fool of.
     
    There must be at least some of the electorate who feel similarly wary if asked for their thoughts on the referendum and related issues – that’s when they turn to the crafty wordsmiths who’ve created ‘arguments’ which amount to nothing more than Get Out of Jail Free cards.
     
    As for Hassan’s latest, I don’t know, haven’t seen it yet, but I gave up expecting any clarity from him a long time ago – reading his blog is like watching a spider trying to climb out of an empty bath.

  22. gordoz says:

    Nice article Doug :
    I afraid I always drill down into the true “Im a proud Scot ‘ers”;  every time I here that alarm bells go off that something compensatory is going on, something is not right or a deception is to follow, (apologies for those on our side who use the term / go to get the caveats in first!)
    Hope you know what I mean, I still passionately believe, (perhaps naively) that this vote will come down to the heart (not the head) for many don’t knows at the eleventh hour.
    I still focus on simple gut decision questions.
    As a resident of Scotland, which national grouping is your affiliation (1 only).
    Which parliament affects your day to day life the most
    Which flag represents your nation (1 choice only)
    Which city do you consider as your capital city
    How threatened would you feel to lose the powers of your parliament of choice.
    The heart will betray itself against such questions.
     
     Targeting  grouping will work.
    The young  > about the future;  education, aspiration, inspiration, employment, debt.
    The middle aged  > Heart & Soul issues + economy, education, defence,  banking.
    The Old > How it came to this, failure of their hero’s, Brown, Darling, Blair + the future (grandkids)
     
    On Women’s issues  / Elaine C Smith ‘ Still standing –just’ touring show
    I hear from a very good source that Elaine C Smith’s shows are going down a storm, on real life Scottish women’s stories and attitudes; subtle references to referendum and about standing up and being counted and to get away from the Scottish Cringe.  Someone should be tapping in on this to get the ladies on side. I’d like to see her in the line up with Ms Kirsty Wark at Coldstream  Bridge, that would keep Ms Wark in check I bet.

  23. HandandShrimp says:

    We really do have to bear in mind that 30% or more will not vote. There is a hard core of No voters and a Hard core of Yes voters that will not change sides. In truth there is probably about 15% in the middle that will move and will vote. It is these people that will hold the destiny of Scotland in their hands. A great deal of the real work will take place in the few weeks before the vote. It is then that the footwork, activists on the ground, TV broadcasts, Newspaper adverts, etc., will tell. Our task at the moment is to keep independence in people’s minds (without pissing them off) and raise public consciousness about being independent as a natural state for a country….and of course countering the scaremongering pish from No to Scotland mainly through ridicule because they will never put up to debate even a fraction of the nonsense they churn out.

  24. gordoz says:

    O/T Hacking of YES HQ –
    Has anybody heard anything more ??
    Or as I suspect is that it dead and buried ??

  25. HandandShrimp says:

    gordoz
     
    The wheels of law enforcement turn slowly. I fear it may be a while before they can determine if they can trace who did this. However, with GCHQ and the NSA watching every move you would think they could. Probably have more luck asking Snowden than GCHQ though.

  26. Roger Mexico says:

    Might there not be a group of people who you might call the ‘decided undecided’?  People who have decided that they will make their decision nearer the time of the referendum when they will look at all the arguments, but until then they will just try to block everything out?  Some of this may be polite pretend-interest by the apathetic, but a lot could be because they find it confusing and complex and will put off making the choice till a few weeks or months before, by which time they hope everything will become clearer.
     
    It would be interesting to find out just how many of the undecided (and those only leaning to Yes or No) are taking this “wait and see” approach and when they expect to make up their minds. 

  27. handclapping says:

    @Arbroath1320
    British Pension Fund £0 is not exactly true. The Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt hold £27 billion for the National Insurance Fund, which includes UK Pension liabilities, but it is all invested in UK Government promissary notes so is getting effectively 0.5% interest as opposed to the Norwegian one which is invested in equities outside of Norway and should be getting 3% or better.
    Just another example of Westminster not working for us.

  28. gordoz says:

    HandandShrimp says:
    8 September, 2013 at 5:59 pm

     
    Cheers – Those were my thoughts suspect they know already and are working on an explanable story with the UK/US to smoke screen properly.
     
    The cleaner’s sat on the keyboard; it wuz the weans whot dun it etc, you know the drill.
     

  29. scottish_skier says:

    We really do have to bear in mind that 30% or more will not vote. There is a hard core of No voters and a Hard core of Yes voters that will not change sides. In truth there is probably about 15%…
     
    I suspect we’ll get a turnout of 75%. That was commonplace pre-New Labour and is around the number who consistently give a voting intention for elections, although a proportion don’t end up going out to vote.
     
    We should be looking at 45% Y / 30% N (60% Y). 50%Y / 25% N (67% Y) would be a bonus. Probably in the middle like Q2 1997 (63.5% Y).

  30. Jock McDonnell says:

    Any update on the attack on the 80year old Yes campaigner? I haven’t seen any more.

  31. Jim says:

    Are my eyes deceiving me or did I really receive  an email from the Huffingdon Post featuring 100 sexiest images of some scantically clad young woman? 
    I thought the Huffingdon Post was a “serious” publication albeit with a preference for London domination of the world.
    Apologies if wrong.

  32. kininvie says:

    Doug:
    You’re making a general assumption that people behave rationally. I believe that many, if not most, of the undecideds are unlikely to be convinced by facts. They are in a kind of panic state, using every excuse to not make up their minds. It’s like a group of people in a burning building – many won’t decide how they are going to get out: they will wait until someone shouts ‘This way’ – and then follow, whether the call is right or wrong.

    The equivalent in the indy debate is voting Yes because that is what everyone else is doing. We’re getting to the stage where knocking on doors is going to become less important than wearing our convictions openly, through badges, car stickers, whatever. This is why a big turnout at the rally matters.

    I was on the train down from Inverness today, and in my carriage there were three Yes badges (including mine) openly on display. There need to be about twenty in every train carriage. Then, the unconvinced will start thinking maybe they want one too….

  33. Juteman says:

    I don’t believe there are many undecided, just folk that don’t want to answer the question when asked.
    How can you be undecided about such a simple question?
     

  34. Doug Daniel says:

    Roger – I would say such people can still be identified as being one or the other, although granted it might be difficult to do so until nearer the time. But the fact remains that anyone who says “I’m not doing this thing because of these ten small reasons” isn’t being honest – there’s usually only one central reason why we decide things, and then we find a bunch of supporting reasons to back that up, especially when that central reason sounds daft when you say it out loud.

  35. Juteman says:

    My comment is awaiting moderation? What’s that all about, Rev?

  36. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Jim-
     
    As Rev is always saying – LINKS, people, LINKS!

  37. Albalha says:

    @jim
    Do you mean the Huffington Post …

  38. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “My comment is awaiting moderation? What’s that all about, Rev?”

    You typing your email address wrong and Akismet thinking you’re a new commenter is what that’s all about.

  39. I’ve been on Yes stalls at a couple of events over the summer and Doug’s idea here reflects some of what I saw. Many undecideds I spoke to had one specific worry. When addressed, in a reasonable and friendly manner, they would often be reassured. No one ever came right out and said they’d now vote yes, however it was clear that they had been moved well onto the path. They’d made the psychological leap.

    Others simply kept bringing out more and more worries, like endless rabbits from a hat. At the time I kept on battering away at these worries, however there was never that light-going-on moment, no sign that any argument or reassurance was penetrating. I think Doug’s insight is valuable here. In future I think I will politely drop the endless worry conversations. We need to leave those hard nuts until the numbers seem truly on our side.

  40. Doug Daniel says:

    Kininvie – I totally agree that it’s important people see proof that other people are going to be voting Yes. It’s all part of the normalisation process of independence. It’s why I have my Yes board displayed in my window at all times and a Yes badge pinned to my jacket.
     
    But I certainly don’t think everyone behaves rationally. After all, if that was the case, the only No voters would be Westminster MPs!
     
    You’re quite right though, there are those who will end up voting Yes simply because that seems to be the way the wind is blowing. I suppose that ties in with Ian Brotherhood’s point about the guy who needed to get his opinions from approved sources – in fact, even some who are currently vehemently against independence may end up voting Yes if they have sheep-like tendencies.
     
    What we really need is famous people on the telly wearing Yes badges. Non-politico types. Someone going on The One Show to talk about their new film while wearing one, for example. Not that the Beeb would allow such things…

  41. Jim says:

    I dont know I’ve never read it!
    Just visited it. It seems to get a bit of prominence in the BBC. I didnt realise it was a tabloid thing.

  42. Juteman says:

    I DONT KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!

  43. Juteman says:

    I had ran CCleaner earlier. That’s my excuse. 🙂

  44. kininvie says:

    Doug:
    What we really need is famous people on the telly wearing Yes badges. Non-politico types.
    Yes, but it’s not going to happen. So, to substitute for these ‘famous’ people, we need hundreds, thousands, of ‘ordinary’ people.
    It’s no coincidence that stage 3 of the Yes campaign (kicking in around March) is ‘We’re all voting Yes’ 
     

  45. Paula Rose says:

    I’m usually dismissive of the ‘herd mentality’ but now I’ve changed my mind. Since wearing my Yes badge I’ve been asked about the ‘issues’ and in several cases folk have intimated that if a majority appear to be in favour they will be too. I suppose a lot of people don’t have the time or inclination to do the research themselves and will go along with something if others are for it. It leads me to conclude that the polls are very important in changing minds, rather than just a way of analysing trends.

  46. BuckieBraes says:

    Stewart Bremner says:
    8 September, 2013 at 6:49 pm
     
    ‘Endless Worry Conversations’ (or EWCs) – I like that!
     
    I now realise I was having an EWC in a Broughty Ferry restaurant a couple of days ago. Mind you, I knew the person well enough to have some fun throwing back my Endless Worries about the UK.

  47. Morag says:

    Might there not be a group of people who you might call the ‘decided undecided’?  People who have decided that they will make their decision nearer the time of the referendum when they will look at all the arguments, but until then they will just try to block everything out?
     
    There may be something in that.  I find that a difficult decision often becomes clearer if I just give it time.  My subconscious will work on it.  Since we have time, why not?  But it’s much easier if you don’t block everything out.  It works if you actively seek information for information’s sake, without trying to force yourself to a decision.
     
    I think there may be quite a lot of people like that, and demanding that they choose a side at this stage is fairly counterproductive.  I think most people in that category will vote Yes, but only if they make a wee bit of effort to absorb some information.

  48. ukp50 says:

     Don’t go  knocking video game players, who would rather spend money on something they enjoy & share. But if you want to piss your money against a wall, that’s your business.
     
     
     Just so happens, that a game is coming out in a few days from a Scottish company, that will make millions for our economy. Grand Theft Auto V  by Rockstar North, is eagerly awaited by gamers from around the world. [this](http://www.rockstargames.com/V/)

  49. Morag says:

    I think anyone knocking video games enthusiasts on this blog is probably taking their life in their hands.

  50. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Thanks for the correction Handclapping.
     
    O/T here but just in case anyone is interested Douglas Fraser has a piece over on the BBC site about the Hootsmon.
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23880360
     
    I don’t want to be accused of counting my chickens just yet but it would appear that the Hootsmon is in some extremely serious doo doo. When you get an article by Douglas Fraser headlining that the Hootsmon is in trouble then I think you can say their days as a newspaper are well and truly numbered! 😆

  51. Andy-B says:

    Very good break down of the reason people will vote naw.
     
    As you say Doug some people no matter what you tell them about Westminster, and its pathetic attempts at governing the UK, will not budge 1 inch.
    I still say its all down to LACK of good information, for most middling people.

  52. Vronsky says:

    At a party which included the only family member claiming to be a No.  Summarising, he made two statements:
     
    (1) I don’t  believe anything that anyone tells me (refreshingly sensible caution)
    (2) I want someone to tell me what to do (Hmm – sits uneasily with ‘1’)
     
    It was a long talk.  We were at a family party with a visiting tatooist (the ones you can wash off)  where lots of people were having ‘Yes’ etched on there forearms.  ‘Could I have, I’m thinking this over?’  He asked. 
     
    Result.

  53. SteveW says:

    Great article Doug.
    I sometimes wonder how some people manage to take a walk down the street without having to know every detail on the traffic in case need to cross the road or who might walk out of shop in front of them.
    If some of us were not  so lacking in confidence in ourselves we would just say “bring it on” and know that we are big and ugly enough to deal with what ever comes up.  

  54. muttley79 says:

    I will be voting Yes.  However, I have to say that the TV debates have been awful, with Thursday night’s debacle a prime example.  Therefore, I have sympathy with people criticising the quality of the TV debates.  I do think there is a sizable number of people in Scotland who are either not sure how to vote in the referendum, or who are soft Nos, but just need to be reassured about voting Yes.  These two groups probably also fear change, but not enough as to make them reject the possiblity of voting Yes.  I suspect that the official period of campaigning will be significant in determining how they vote, as will as the result.  If the Yes vote is high enough in the polls going into the last period, more don’t knows and soft Nos will be more reassured about voting Yes. 

  55. ianbrotherhood says:

    Let’s also remember that many people have a remarkable capacity for simply not hearing/reading/seeing material if they don’t want to. There must be lots of folk who are already scunnered with referendum-talk and just blank it. They’ll take the metaphorical earplugs and blindfolds off nearer the time.
     
    Many years ago I worked in local radio in Glasgow – of course, the job required that we have the station playing constantly. I’m sure we can all remember radio ads from thirty, even forty years ago (what shop was ‘halfway down Robertson Street…halfway down Robertson Street...) because those ads are designed to annoy, to stand-out against the relative white noise of constant pop pap and dee-jay chatter. So, imagine working 9-5 with the stuff on constantly – it HAD to be blanked out, otherwise you’d be a drooling halfwit in a matter of weeks, huddled in a corner, mumbling about Half-Price Sales and tiling shops with ‘the b-b-b-b-b-best selection in the land’.
     
    What’s that song that’s in the charts right now?

    ‘I don’t mean to judge
    But when you read your speech, it’s tiring
    Enough is enough

    I’m covering my ears like a kid
    When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
    I’m turning up the volume when you speak
    ‘Cause if my heart can’t stop it, I find a way to block it…’
     
     

  56. Robert Kerr says:

    Following up on the Scotsman problem here is an interesting quote from the BBC site linked.
    There may be something about the state of the nation in that observation. In reporting this for TV, I heard from Prof Raymond Boyle, a communications expert at Glasgow University, who observed that newspapers can no longer be seen as carrying a sense of Scottish national identity.
    They KNOW !
    Hail Alba

  57. Doug Daniel says:

    Muttley – “I will be voting Yes.  However, I have to say that the TV debates have been awful, with Thursday night’s debacle a prime example.  Therefore, I have sympathy with people criticising the quality of the TV debates.”
     
    Well aye, both of them last week were poor, but there’s a difference between criticising the debates and saying “both sides are as bad as each other.” For example, the Scotland Tonight debate reminded me of several classes I had at school where the lessons were absolutely terrible – not because of my ability to learn, nor the subject matter itself, but because the teacher couldn’t control the minority of cheeky little shits in the class.
     
    So those criticising the debates should say “that debate was awful because Anas Sarwar acted like a little twerp, and the programme makers did nothing to stop him.” That way, pressure can be put on that little fuckwit (sorry, just thinking about him raises my blood pressure), and the programme makers can perhaps see that they need to buck up their ideas a bit. The “both sides are as bad as each other” thing allows the programme makers to go “oh well, it was their fault, not ours”, and the No campaign go “excellent, that was just what we wanted. Let’s do the same next time.”

  58. Doug Daniel says:

    Andy-B: “I still say its all down to LACK of good information, for most middling people.”
     
    Most, aye. But the leftovers are the ones folk have to watch they don’t go expended energy on fruitlessly. After all, we only need to get 50% + 1!

  59. Macsenex says:

    I think the time has come when staged debates should be abandoned.

    If you are in a group organising a debate suggest that there is more value inviting Yes and Bt reps on different nights and interrogate them separately.

  60. Patrician says:

    To  Paula Rose, have a read of Daniel Gardners book “The Science of Fear”.  Chapter 6, “The Herd senses danger” is of most interest. 
     
    As a side note about the “No Scotland” group, when I heard the name they were using internally,  I wondered if this book was Project Fears handbook.

  61. ianbrotherhood says:

    @DD-
    ‘So those criticising the debates should say “that debate was awful because Anas Sarwar acted like a little twerp, and the programme makers did nothing to stop him.”’
     
    Yep. Regardless of their political leanings, most broadcasters are professionals, and take pride in their work. Some of them even went into journalism for noble reasons, as a genuine vocation.
     
    Aside from the substance of the debate and behaviour of the participants, the production looked and sounded ‘cheap’. Having close-ups of Sturgeon and Sarwar’s faces as the pundits analysed their performance was excruciating – it was like watching one of those cookery competition programmes where someone bursts into tears because some stern guy says their puddings are bland.
     
    If they can’t be reached on  any other level, people like Ponsonby should be left in no doubt that what they’re currently doing falls way short of what a national broadcaster should aspire to. BBC Scotland is an ongoing disaster, and STV have this huge opportunity – looking at what was served up last week, they don’t seem too bothered about exploiting it.

  62. Indy says:

    You’re so right. I often wonder where this mythical land of wonderful debate was cos it has never been the UK, not in my lifetime. Of course it is rarely as bad as the Nicola/Sarwar debate because usually there are two professional politicians involved instead of just one. In retrospect the first debate between Nicola and Michael Moore was actually quite good. I certainly hope Anas Sarwar never gets on TV again because he could reduce the debate single handedly to a lot of gibberish. He wasn’t even speaking in sentences! It was just noise. But that’s the exception. Generally speaking this is a very exciting time politically. Normal punters are interested, which is not always the case. The element of the commentariat which professes to be bored and to think the quality of debate is poor just don’t want this to be happening.

  63. Seanair says:

    Arbroath 1320
    Re Fraser’s article. His “analysis” of the decline of the Scotsman and others fails to point out the glaring fact that these papers have become virulenly anti SNP/Independence. No wonder their sales are down when supporters of SNP/Indy are having their views trashed AND are expected to pay money for the pleasure. Just like Fraser’s BBC.
    Fiercely as I deplore the Scotsman (and the BBC) I have some sympathy for the junior staff at both organisations who would lose their jobs if they went down the tubes while the real culprits–the senior executives who decide the policy should be the ones to suffer most. 

  64. Indy says:

    One further point I would make about the debate around undecideds. In my experience there is a significant group of voters who will vote for who they think is going to be the winning candidate (or side in this case). That’s why polls will be important in the short campaign. I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t know if any ‘proper’ research has been done into it but I’d guess that around 10pc of people come into this category. They are the true ‘swing’ voters, they’ll swing whichever way they see the wind blowing and could be vital.

  65. john king says:

    “As for Hassan’s latest, I don’t know, haven’t seen it yet, but I gave up expecting any clarity from him a long time ago – reading his blog is like watching a spider trying to climb out of an empty bath.”
    what a great analogy! love it
      

  66. molly says:

    Ianbrotherhood, was that Glens,Robertson ,Hutchinson and Stepek ?
    The biggest complaint I am getting when the subject comes up is lack of information,” not everyone has access to a computer ” or in my Familys case “,not everyone spends their time reading WOS “

  67. Thepnr says:

    There are two types of No supporters.
     
    Type 1 is the “Informed No” he/she is usually well educated, comfortably off and part of the establishment that gave them their position. They are only interested in what Independence means for them and have an “I’m all right Jack” atitude. You will never convince these people of the benefits of Independence. The Prof discussed above is typical.
     
    Type 2 is the “Uninformed No” he/she is usually less well educated, poorer and a traditional Labour supporter, working class is generally the term used. Less well educated does not mean the people I’m referring to are in any way stupid. These are the No voters that Yes supporters need to connect with and to inform, it’s obvious that the MSM will not be doing that job so people like us reading this site need to work on the ground.
     
    Lets face it, the people reading this site are all activists in one way or another even if it’s from an armchair, the vast majority of Scottish people will not see a site like this before the election instead relying on TV and newspapers. We will need to combat this face to face with the voters.
     
    Finally on the subject of the Undecided, then see above on the typical Labour supporter who could NEVER imagine voting SNP. However, seeing the state currently of the party he/she likely supported all their life and being disgusted by it is in a quandary. They hate the Tories, are sick of Nu Labour but fear Independence. Convince them and Yes will win. 

  68. ianbrotherhood says:

    @molly-
     
    I remember it as ‘Glens, Hutchisons, Robertsons & Stepek’, but isn’t it amazing how we still remember this stuff? I don’t think they were the people ‘halfway down Robertson Street’. I’ve a feeling that was a carpet outlet, but honestly can’t be sure, which suggests their ad wasn’t quite as effective as it could’ve been – I’m sure I first heard that ad circa 1975/6, when Clyde was still a very young station.
     
    One thing’s for sure – advertising is powerful and effective, and it’s no wonder that politicians have resorted to the same Pavlovian/BF Skinner trickology. That’s probably why the quality of ‘debate’ has gone through the floor, and ain’t gonna make a comeback anytime soon. (Personally, I blame Kinnock, going arse-over-heid on that mortifying ‘Well, alright! Well, alright! banana-skin.)

  69. ianbrotherhood says:

    Meanwhile, in Twitterland, Chris Huhne has been getting down below-the-line, dealing with responses to a piece he wrote for the Guardian, and seems to be making a fair fist of it so far:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/08/despise-politicians-my-part-murdoch-machine
    Why can’t WoS have a resident old lag? Can we entice Tommy Sheridan (AKA Dmitry Noshame) to come here and show a wee bit mea culpa? It would be interesting, and perhaps give him a break from highjacking SSP streetwork on Bedroom Tax.

  70. Ghengis says:

    Question – The GERS reports rely on figures from the devious shitbags in London. They say we run a deficit. You’ll all be aware that in reply to the statement: Scotland contributes 9.9% of UK revenues, but only receives 9.3% of UK spending, the BetterCringers reply: ah but we have a deficit! (implying we’re too poor, need money from London, blah blah)
     
    Why does the Scottish government accept this distortion when we should be able to say – we are in surplus: http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/03/propaganda-against-scotland/
     
    ?
     

  71. Taranaich says:

    Fantastic piece Doug. While the Rev is great, I really appreciate other voices like yourself, Scott et al posting. It just shows that Wings is more than just a cult of personality.
     
    My wee cousin asked if I’d help him with a wee school project, where he was tasked with presenting cases for and against a given subject. Since he knows me, he chose Scottish Independence. Initially I was thrilled – could be a chance to influence others in his school, some of whom will be 16 this time next year – but then I started to think about it.
     
    See, the reason for this project is for the students to present a clearly contentious subject, and prove they can do both sides of the argument, not just the one they disagree with. With most things, I absolutely can see the merits of both sides. School uniforms, licensing laws, free will, economic and political models. But that’s because with most things, there’s a debate because both sides have merits. With independence, one side has absolutely zero merits that the other side doesn’t already have.
     
    That’s why not only there hasn’t been a debate, there never will be a debate. There will never be an honest, actual discussion of the agenda: they will all be either well-intentioned but ultimately one-sided (Sturgeon/Moore) or a complete and utter disaster (Sturgeon/Sarwar). But because humans like to think other humans are rational beings, there are many undecideds who are waiting for that mythical “Quality Debate.” Once they realise that isn’t going to happen, who do you think they’ll conclude gave the most reasoned case?
     
    Unfortunately, this makes things a bit problematic for my cousin, since I wouldn’t know the first thing about presenting a decent “positive case for the Union” even for a mock debate. To me, arguing for the Union is as nonsensical as honestly trying to argue the sky is purple, or that gravity is caused by hordes of angry pixies with magnets. All I could think of is the usual “uncertainties” which apply equally as much to a dependent Scotland as an independent one, but even that seems a copout.

  72. Vronsky says:

    The only soldiers who matter are us, we will swing it. 
     
    But we need to remember where we came from and how we got to where we are.  For me, and I suspect for many others, getting to a belief in separation (sorry, the word is useful) was a discovery at the end of a long trail.  Long in years, long in watching what was happening, long in voting and hoping Labour, long in dimly and dully discovering  that things were not as I had thought they were.  But I was always a politically engaged person and  curious about what was going on, and given enough time, I’d figure it out. 

    Now, campaigning for Yes, I feel that I’m asking people to be smarter than me, to come to a conclusion in a few months that it took me a lifetime to work out. 
     
    So be gentle out there, take it a walking pace.

  73. rabb says:

    Ghengis,
    They don’t accept it and do often attempt to scream it from the rooftops. Unfortunately the media have a vested interest in the continuation of the union. It’s nye on impossible to get any “true” facts presented to the public or even a balanced debate. The Scottish government have no jurisdiction over a London centric MSM.

    It’s been discussed to the point of death on here by many but we must accept the fact that the media will not present a balanced argument.
     
    It’s down to us to get the message out to our fellow Scots.

  74. Doug Daniel says:

    Ian Brotherhood – don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten the posts Stu has put up by The Falkirk Bruiser? If i remember correctly, he even delved below the line a little bit.
     
    Indy – “Normal punters are interested, which is not always the case. The element of the commentariat which professes to be bored and to think the quality of debate is poor just don’t want this to be happening.”
     
    Absolutely! A few months ago, I had someone I’ve not spoken to for about 15 years contact me on Twitter because he’d noticed I was tweeting a load of stuff about independence, and he was interested in finding out more. Then yesterday, I looked on his facebook page, and he’s gone and put a Yes avatar as his picture, he’s been sharing loads of articles, and he was getting really stuck into a discussion about independence with some of his friends.
     
    This is something different for people. It’s not the usual political tug-of-war, so it’s something that people can get interested in. I think a lot of people who are used to being on-message at all times and using ad hominem arguments to defeat political opponents are a bit overwhelmed. They’re not really in control, and it upsets them.
     
    When people accuse others of being Cybernats, bringing down the tone of the debate and putting off “ordinary” members of the public, I don’t think they understand a key fact – these ARE ordinary members of the public; they just don’t want to engage in the same nicey-nicey terms that the commentariat try to dictate.

  75. Thepnr says:

    @Vronsky
     
    Snap!
    This is my point, where has the support for SNP come from in the last decade, not difficult to answer is it? There are still many to be convinced about the case for Independence not just Labour supporters but many of those that voted for SNP in 2011 judging by the polls, else it would be a shoo in.

  76. ianbrotherhood says:

    @DD-
    Re Joyce.
    Aye, fair enough, but Sheridan continues to cause damage to the SSP, and always will unless he comes clean, apologises properly, and ditches this current effort to replay his glory-days via the Bedroom Tax. He damaged a lot of people, and hasn’t shown the slightest sign of contrition, in public at any rate.

  77. Caroline Corfield says:

    Taranaich, the case for the union relies on one thing only, and that is that Scotland is not a country but a region of the UK. In a regional sense those powers not devolved should remain un-devolved and that demolishes independence too. I hope that helps your cousin, in that the counter arguement can only stand a chance based on that one assumption. 
    Now we all know it isn’t true hence no positive case: the negative case is that England will initially be worse off without Scotland and should you put people with whom you share a common heritage of 300 years and a social union with into that position? The answer is yes, not because they would do the same, but because in the long run it will be better for them, an example of a new and forward looking country so close to home will stand in stark contrast to the decaying society they will be left with, and there will be no option left except reform. It’s one thing to hold up Norway as an example and quite another to then see a country you were told was too wee, too poor and too stupid doing it too. ( remember it’s not just Scots who hear the TWTPTS mantra.)

  78. Doug Daniel says:

    Taranaich – I don’t envy you one bit. A guy I used to work with is going to be voting Yes, but is very careful to point out he’s not doing so through any sense of national identity or anything like that. He said to me that if he was a No voter, he’d be absolutely livid that BetterTogether refuse to put forward a positive case for the union, and says it’s wrong to claim they’ve not done so because there isn’t one to make.
     
    Anyway, I asked him to give an example, because I’d recently seen some other folk claiming there was a case to be made, but conveniently omitting to mention what it is. The one he came up with was that it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to look at the positives and negatives of both sides, and come to the conclusion that the costs and risks of independence (starting up new Scottish versions of existing British institutions, etc) aren’t worth the benefits. He obviously agrees that it IS worth it, because he’s voting Yes, but he said it’s not an irrational way of coming at the debate.
     
    The thing is, I came away thinking “that’s still a negative argument – it’s still predicated on people thinking independence will be costly or risky, and therefore it’s better to stay as we are”. So I’m still none the wiser as to where this elusive Positive Case is. There is, quite simply, no positive argument that beats “a country should govern itself.” If the UK were a bastion of social democracy and a shining example to the rest of the world, then you could argue that the union has created this fabulous life for us all. But all the evidence shows that the union is nothing but bad for Scotland. So, no positive case, then.

  79. Ghengis says:

    Rabb,
     
    The GERS executive summary page 9 claims a deficit of £3.4 billion (2.3% of GDP) but according to Craig Murray that is based on ‘New Labour’s incredible gerrymandered 1999 England/Scotland maritime border’
     
    I can’t understand why the Scottish government just without comment includes it in the GERS report. It allows the CringersTogether 🙂 to muddy the waters in regards to our much better financial position than that debt ridden basket case that is the UK.
    .

  80. Yesitis says:

    A good piece, Doug. It very much echoes my personal feelings and I hope to hear more from you soon.
     
    Taranaich
    That’s why not only there hasn’t been a debate, there never will be a debate. There will never be an honest, actual discussion of the agenda: they will all be either well-intentioned but ultimately one-sided (Sturgeon/Moore) or a complete and utter disaster (Sturgeon/Sarwar). But because humans like to think other humans are rational beings, there are many undecideds who are waiting for that mythical “Quality Debate.” Once they realise that isn’t going to happen, who do you think they’ll conclude gave the most reasoned case?
     
    I agree with you here, Taranaich. Time goes on and the focus will soon be on the ‘White Paper’ and no doubt the No campaign and their compliant media will trash it and time will move on…
    But at some point the No campaign will have to put their cards on the table, and if they try to rabble rouse their way out of their details being offered and clearly heard, then general public eyebrows will well and truly be raised to “I smell shite” level.
     
    The media will of course, continue playing it`s complicit role as monkeys while the organ grinders play the tune, but with Labour in constant decline, it is becoming clear that a No vote is a vote in favour of Tory government rule for Scotland.
     
    Dress that up anyway you like; it still smells o` shite.

  81. rabb says:

    Doug,
    This is probably one of the most important articles I’ve read on wings (no offence Rev!). It’s been a good sanity check 🙂

    As one of the non political ordinary punters; I came into this debate treading on egg shells trying not to upset all of those hacks & politicians on twitter etc.
     
    As it turns out that’s exactly what they want. They want people to feel embarrassed or afraid to speak out for fear of faux outrage. The less people discussing it the better for them. That’s the only tactic they have.

    I’m convinced the STV debate the other night was intentionally allowed to descend into a rammy. It wasn’t poor technique from the hosts it was all in the plan.
     
    I don’t give a shit about these folk any more. If that makes me a cybernat or a bully then so what. It’s called real people having a real discussion.
     
    Forget what these politicians and churnalists say folks. Just get yourselves out their and tell them how it is. If they don’t like it then they can go fuck themselves.

    Independence is normal and the next logical step for us.
    They really don’t like it up em!
     

  82. Lanarkist says:

    Thanks Doug for creating a starting point for some very interesting discussion. I believe in the concept of the wisdom of the crowd but it can be nudged and shaped and sculpted. The idea of  accelerating the visibility of the strength of support for change can work on many individual levels simultaneously. Seeing the strength of others as early adopters gives others confidence in not being”other”. It can create curiosity in people who are aware but not yet engaged in the counter arguments and create a concrete feeling of something intangible being made real and by visibly being able to track it’s growth in popularity. Wearing a yes badge adds to the overall contribution of non verbally engaging with people, kick-starting their quest to know and perhaps belong. Every small action added together creates impressive outcomes. In my local community their is little outward sign of any inquiry, support or discussion. Time to start building visible signs, measurable signals of growing support. American style bumper stickers? Car  sticklers, window stickers, subtle badges. Subconsciously these all help to cement belonging. Thanks for the article.
    Lanarkist.

  83. ianbrotherhood says:

    A nicht-nicht happy note – someone has put a big official-looking bright-blue Yes Scotland banner up in their back garden and it’s visible from the train as it enters Saltcoats (coming from Glasgow side). Passengers get a good look at it as the train’s slowing. 
     
    Whoever ye are – nice one!

  84. rabb says:

    Gengis,
    The Scottish Government don’t produce the GERS report. It’s produced in Whitehall by the UK government (to the best of my knowledge).
     
    There are lots of things it doesn’t take into account.
     
    Take Tesco for example. Scotland would have accounted for approx 10% of it’s £42.8 billion turnover in the UK last year. Does any of the VAT or corporation tax count towards GERS? No it doesn’t because the tax revenue was credited to their head office in England where it was paid.
     
    If you add up the tax revenue from all of these retailers (Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, ASDA, Co-op etc) that Scotland doesn’t get credited for it reveals just how much is deliberately left out of GERS.

    I am under no illusion that Scotland is a proper fucking goldmine but unfortunately the SG can only play the game with the hand their dealt.
    Its like the Scottish government are playing a poker game with Westminster picking their cards for them.
     

  85. Bill C says:

    Latest Lord Ashcroft poll showing NO almost 40 points ahead of YES and Lamont ahead of Salmond in popularity stakes although 40% of those polled had never heard of her! The unionists really are losing the plot. You have to laugh.

  86. Doug Daniel says:

    There’s actually two polls, and it’s interesting to see when the first one was conducted – 22nd February to 9th May. So not only is it far too long a period to be taken seriously (10 weeks?!?!?! What kind of “snapshot” is that?), but it’s also FOUR MONTHS OLD!
     
    This one is absolutely riddled with holes, although also lots of interesting info, which Stu is already picking out on Twitter just now.

  87. Bill C says:

    P.S. The whole fairy tale is in this morning’s Hootsman .  Funny how they all are now predicting a YES vote in the mid-twenties, they must have had a meeting.

  88. Bill C says:

    @Doug Daniel – Cheers Doug didn’t think it would take long to destroy it.  Brilliant article by the way.

  89. Chic McGregor says:

    I agree entirely with your subtle and deep article Doug.    The number of those who are fucked up enough to genuinely believe, for mutifarious reasons, Scotland must be saved from itself is very small.  The vast majority of Scots would prefer the normality of their country running its own affairs but for the scaremongering of the career-aware/culturally-deranged contingent.
     
    The Us know this, hence the stifling of debate and the scaremongering.  Many of those who are aware of the facts and pro-indy also know this but there is still a sizeble number of them who presume ALL those who would in their heart of hearts prefer normal levels of self-government should put the issue of independence above all else.
     
    That stance is not really very reasonable, but rather than wax on about why that is, best to reproduce some home truths on the matter from an educational leaflet from the past here:
     
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97149913/page2b.jpg

     [The bit about effect on party politics at the bottom can be ignored].

    However, even if all pro-indy activists read and understand this message, the battle is far from over because a democacy enabling mechanism for getting the truth out there to the whole electorate simply does not exist.  A Brit state compliant MSM being the main reason, as we all here I suspect (even the closet Us), know,.  
     
    The independence debate will not be won by the votes of activists it will be won or lost on the soft middle ground.  Of course, activists do have, given the democratic deficit in the media, an even more vital role in getting the truth out to that soft contingent in the electorate.  And online sources to more rational debate are also very important, but whether they can reach enough of the population is still the big question there, especially amongst the soft vote who are probably less self-motivated and therefore less likely to discover that information.
     
    But however we manage it the truth, factually based and referenced, has to be targeted and delivered to the soft middle before the referendum despite the best efforts of the Brit machine, if we are to win.
     
     

  90. Doug Daniel says:

    Sorry Bill, I’m afraid I’ve told you a lie about it being two polls. This was incorrect.
     
     
    It was THREE polls – AND HE’S TRYING TO LUMP ALL THE RESULTS INTO ONE!
     
    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Lord-Ashcroft-Scottish-Political-Attitudes-poll.pdf
     
    Oh if only I could have done that during sixth year Chemistry, that project would have been far easier to write up. Empirical science? Pffft!!!!

  91. Chic McGregor says:

    P.S.  I hope the reasons for my suggested question which attempts to allay the single niggest scaremongering tactic, i.e. the effect on Scotland’s economy and hence on standard of living, is clearer to some now.

  92. CameronB says:

    Doug Daniel
    This might help if you are still looking for the +ve case.
    http://unicornsbarfrainbows.com/comics/2013/Where_Are_Unicorns_Found.html

  93. Patrician says:

    The Ashcroft “poll” shows nothing other than that Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems voter who were polled don’t like the SNP.  Oh, and 35% of Labout voters don’t know who Johan Lamont is, priceless.  Although to be fair, it is better than W Rennies score with his party.

  94. Paula Rose says:

    This site is now read by a lot of people, we don’t need to convince each other – welcome new readers and give them hope for the future, that is what a Yes vote means.

  95. Albalha says:

    As others have said this is not about party politics, that comes after a YES vote. Of course people on all sides are making it about party politics. But increasingly voters are seeing though that and the train crash that was the STV debate is a literal switch off. 
     

  96. Albalha says:

    The Herald view on the latest group as it opines on the future of Scotland. ‘Independence is a blind alley’. Haven’t read this Red Paper however.
    http://archive.is/8BvRZ 

    And the Gardham article.

    http://archive.is/F691O

  97. kininvie says:

    Truth was the first casualty of this debate some time ago. Since when, it has died of its injuries.
    http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2013/09/no-campaign-straight-up-lie-about-lord-ashcroft-indyref-poll/

  98. scottish_skier says:

    It was THREE polls – AND HE’S TRYING TO LUMP ALL THE RESULTS INTO ONE!
     
    Yes, and all of them out of date. Jeez the first, largest 10k one was carried out between February and 9th May (ergo 4-7 months out of date) with the most recent telephone one already a month out of date.
     
    Series lack of information on the methodology too. Looks very much like Yougov (seriously out of date A and B ones) with weighting to the 2010 election for the indy poll results and VI. Ergo, meaningless.
     
    The other one on the Scottish parliament (C) most likely is MORI telephone with no indy question.

    What is it with Tories and wasting money?

  99. Robert Kerr says:

    This nonsense is designed to put a damper on the Indy March !
    Put people off from turning up…. waste of time… stay at home !
    Lying Barstewards !
    Also yet another doom Monday from the Herald.
    Hail Alba

  100. All we have to do is convince one no or dk voter each and we are sorted, as for the polls, I think the next Wings poll will give us the best view of where we are, the rest are Unionist propaganda, twisted and bent, just like the BT mob.

  101. Awaiting moderation ? bit strange, have I done somthing wrong Rev ?

  102. crisiscult says:

    really good article, which perfectly describes quite a few people I’ve experienced myself. However, I’d like to develop in a bit more detail the character who doesn’t want to come round for pizza. So, you’ve said “That’s okay, we’re having pizza round at mine, so you don’t need to cook anything; and you’ve got all weekend to do your washing!”
     
    He/she responds ‘what type of pizza is it?’
     
    You answer ‘we’ll probably order from Domino’s’
     
    He/she looks concerned ‘what do you mean probably? I’d need to know the exact size and consistency of the base, plus toppings, and I’m a bit concerned that you’re saying you’re going to order from Domino’s. Have you phoned to check that they’ll deliver tonight?’
     
    ‘Eh, no, we haven’t agreed in advance with Domino’s that they’ll deliver but they always do and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t deliver’.
     
    ‘But come on, you can’t have me round for dinner without a clear plan of what we’re having’. That’s it, I’m saying NO.’
     
    You ask ‘what are you going to have for dinner at your house then?’
     
    He/she says ‘eh, I don’t know, whatever my wife/husband/partner/mother/father has left for me in the fridge.’

  103. All we have to do is convince one no or dk voter each and we are sorted, as for the polls, I think the next Wings poll will give us the best view of where we are, the rest are Unionist propaganda, twisted and bent, just like the BT mob.
     

  104. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Awaiting moderation ? bit strange, have I done somthing wrong Rev ?”

    Nope. You’ve typed your email address wrong (a T where there should be a Y), so Akismet thinks you’re someone else.

  105. Gregs required ! Cheers Rev 🙂

  106. Taranaich says:

    @Caroline Corfield: Taranaich, the case for the union relies on one thing only, and that is that Scotland is not a country but a region of the UK. In a regional sense those powers not devolved should remain un-devolved and that demolishes independence too. I hope that helps your cousin, in that the counter arguement can only stand a chance based on that one assumption.

    That’s a good one (for want of a better term), thank you!

    @Doug Daniel: Taranaich – I don’t envy you one bit. A guy I used to work with is going to be voting Yes, but is very careful to point out he’s not doing so through any sense of national identity or anything like that. He said to me that if he was a No voter, he’d be absolutely livid that BetterTogether refuse to put forward a positive case for the union, and says it’s wrong to claim they’ve not done so because there isn’t one to make.

    I agree. So far, the best “positive” case I can put forward is:

     – Scotland is a region, not a country, and the sooner Scotland is demoted to the status of Cornwall the better
     – The costs associated with changing Scotland’s infrastructure are not worth the trouble compared to sticking with the current one
     – The UK will be undergoing a social democratic revolution within the next few years that will undo all the horrific damage of the LabConDems, which will pave the way for an equitable federation (that’s my friend’s line)
     – The initial process of separation and independence will be a period of relative instability and uncertainty, lasting at least from 2014-2016

    @Yesitis: I agree with you here, Taranaich. Time goes on and the focus will soon be on the ‘White Paper’ and no doubt the No campaign and their compliant media will trash it and time will move on…
    But at some point the No campaign will have to put their cards on the table, and if they try to rabble rouse their way out of their details being offered and clearly heard, then general public eyebrows will well and truly be raised to “I smell shite” level.

    Indeed. If you treat people like idiots, they’re going to resent you even if some of them are idiots: if you treat them like intelligent human beings, they’ll appreciate it even if they aren’t particularly intelligent.

    @Doug Daniel: There’s actually two polls, and it’s interesting to see when the first one was conducted – 22nd February to 9th May. So not only is it far too long a period to be taken seriously (10 weeks?!?!?! What kind of “snapshot” is that?), but it’s also FOUR MONTHS OLD!

    I’m probably asking for the impossible here (in that who in their right mind would give the other side ammunition), but it just occurred to me: is there a single actual incident of Yes Scotland, or anyone associated with it, of implicitly and deliberately lying on such a profound level? Best I can think of is people thinking Salmond’s “£300,000 per head” meant an actual handout to every man, woman and child in Scotland. To be frank, I’d almost feel better if there were some in the Yes Campaign who were being even a smidgen as duplicitous as certain individuals espousing the unionist cause: at least then the constant assault and smearing wouldn’t be as profoundly intolerable. Even some of the numpties on the Yes side who’ve said stupid things can’t compare to someone like McColm.

    @Buster Bloggs: All we have to do is convince one no or dk voter each and we are sorted

    I don’t like to brag about it, mostly because I don’t want to jinx it, but also because there’s no guaranteeing their minds won’t change later. Nonetheless, I am pretty confident saying that I have had conversations with a number of don’t knows, and that some of them have expressed that I make a good case.
     
    Whether that translates to a Yes vote next year or not, I don’t know, but I know that I am doing as much as a person in my personal position can. We all must do this. In fact, I’m going to be starting a new blog on the 14th specifically devoted to Scottish matters, where independence will naturally be a feature. I have a personal blog, but I try to keep politics and other divisive personal topics off it. Wings, as well as the many other Indy blogs, has convinced me that I can do this too.

  107. Patrick Roden says:

    Fantastic Article Doug,
    Something to consider is the fact that some people are drawn to that ‘thing’ that they want, while others run away from that thing they fear.
    If you speak to people and they list things that they fear then all they sometimes need is reassurance that this won’t happen, along with some bigger fear that being part of the Westminster sleaze pot would bring.
    If they are drawn to the things they want, you can show them how prosperous Scotland would be and how the official figures are skewered to attempt to show Scotland as the poor partner.
    One thing to remember though is that although someone might seem an impossible case you should give them at least two good reasons to vote Yes, then cut them loose after that. that way you wont waste too much time, but you might just plant a seed that can grow over time.
     



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