We were expecting the turnout for the No campaign’s Great Train Mobbery to be a lot better for the afternoon session, on account of the fact that nobody would have to get up at 6am to go and leaflet a dark, freezing-cold railway station.
The opposite turned out to be true.
The above image is of Barrhead station, which our spotter reported completely free of “Better Together” leaflet squads at the allotted 5pm-6pm “event” timeslot. It wasn’t the only one. Of 39 stations due to be pamphleted by eager No volunteers at various times in the afternoon and evening, we had confirmed no-shows at a whopping 16:
That’s barely over a 50% hit rate, which is pretty grim. Of course, lots of them had probably been scared off by the awful intimidation tactics of our spotters, ie standing around in a public place and looking at a thing happening. From the requests for quotes we got earlier today we’re expecting to read more about those in at least two newspapers tomorrow, so that’ll be something to look forward to.
(This seems a good moment to thank all our wonderful readers who braved the cold and wind and rain to go out and do the Scottish media’s job for it. We haven’t had one report of anybody behaving inappropriately, and Blair McDougall, whining for all he was worth on Twitter and to newspapers, couldn’t even fabricate one, instead relying on vague innuendo and implication and hoping people would jump to conclusions.)
Over the course of the entire day, then, it looks like anywhere from one-third to 40% of BT’s supposed “events” simply didn’t happen at all. Our best estimate, based on “Better Together” team’s own claims and our spotters’ observations, is that they’ll have fallen short of their “half a million leaflets” target by something in the region of 95%. (Our most wildly generous estimate of the amount handed out is 25,000.)
While we didn’t quite cover every last location, from the ones we did we’re pretty certain that Wings Over Scotland put more people on the streets today than “Better Together” did – an astonishing feat considering that we don’t have millions of pounds of English Tory donors’ money behind us and we’re just a daft wee website operating on 24 hours’ notice rather than a highly-paid professional campaigning organisation.
If we were the other side, we’d be pretty worried about that.