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Wings Over Scotland

Picking a side

Posted on February 03, 2013 by

My first contribution to Wings Over Scotland appeared last May and gave an account of my then-current undecided stance on Scottish independence. Savaged mercilessly in the comments as “A bit of a long-winded ‘don’t know'”, in summary we learned three things from it: I’m crap at making decisions, the media coverage of the issue upsets me, and I wasn’t convinced of anything changing for the better after a Yes vote.

Nine months later, only one of those feelings has altered.

A lot has changed for me personally since then. I graduated from university, but with little prospect of a relevant job in the Aberdeen area. Or anywhere in Scotland actually, unless you wanted to take unpaid placements at two weeks at a time – if you could outshine thousands of others to get the gig in the first place. I went on honeymoon and in September I moved away. As noted in the last piece, I said I wouldn’t hesitate to leave Scotland if it meant a great experience or if it would benefit me and my wife.

So as I write this I am sitting at my desk in our apartment in Hamburg, Germany. The window to my right overlooks the man-made Alster lake in the centre of the city, which is currently near-frozen after a January of almost continuous snow and plenty of -15 temperatures. I never thought I’d live somewhere colder than Aberdeen but I’m not regretting it – Hamburg is a fabulous place.

For the last year of uni I’d been researching the media’s coverage of Scottish independence and had got a bit obsessed with it all, without actually coming out on one side or the other for the actual vote. I thought that the action of moving abroad would take my mind off the whole thing and I could occupy myself with other matters. The opposite has happened.

I’d lived in Scotland for all my 29 years so far. I’ve only been gone a few months and I might be back by the end of the year. Those factors weren’t going to stop me reading about the subject and getting more involved. And in trying to address my indecisive ways, I began to interact a lot more with websites, blogs and forums.

The problem with wanting more evidence or discussion with both sides is that the questioner can come across as a nuisance, only asking difficult questions to get under the skin of those who want to stick to the popular lines of debate. As has been referenced before on this site and elsewhere, most pages online are either for or against independence – there’s no middle ground. Push too hard and the admins of such pages will assume you’re just around to cause trouble and will take action.

So, despite having never used an offensive word or abused anyone, I’ve been banned from several places, and not because I’m rude or a troll. It’s because I’m a “don’t know” – an intelligent “don’t know” with questions, not somebody they can deal with using easily-challenged pre-chewed soundbites. The undecided are being shafted in this debate, and you only have to read the swarm of stories in the media about the latest polls, in which those who haven’t made up their mind are thrown to the wayside as the focus lies on the numbers of ‘definite Yes’ and ‘definite No’.

In most cases you have to have a side or you are ignored. I must stress, though, that in my experience this phenomenon only occurs on one side of the debate. For instance, in my previous article here I voiced my concerns, questioned things and I was welcomed with open arms. Some people criticised my piece, others understood my opinions and I took every comment on board. I learned a lot.

But those against independence, wherever I interact with them, immediately paint me as a “cybernat” and wipe me from their thoughts without even thinking about trying to win me round to their point of view. I simply don’t understand it. These people bombard their Facebook and Twitter feeds every day with crudely-photoshopped images, ridiculously irrelevant or made-up statistics and stupid catchphrases. Then they block anyone who counters their posts, no matter how politely.

The more I get pushed away for asking questions from one particular side, the more I think they have something to hide or they simply cannot answer. The widespread insistence that Scottish nationalism is evil and British nationalism is brilliant (or doesn’t even actually exist) is probably the most dismaying thing.

To keep my interest in writing ticking away after university, I began going down the satire route. When headline-writers in the mainstream media started putting out the most pathetic scary headlines imaginable, I decided to try to top them. It wasn’t easy. A fake news story about a possible zombie invasion, seen on both National Collective and BBC Scotlandshire, was the most popular of my attempts. Surprisingly to me, for all their creative and colourful content, National Collective’s first mainstream glimpse of news exposure – on the BBC website – was because of this dumb zombie spoof.

Trying to concoct more insane headlines has been fun (some I haven’t used include ‘Salmond to relocate Scotland to Oceania for football reasons‘, ‘Scots to miss out on hoverboards and flying cars in 2015’ and ‘Women may be uglier in a separate Scotland’) but all I do is copy in some real quotes, tweak them slightly and write around them. Because of the things coming out of the mouths of Lords, MPs and the Better Together campaign, it’s getting easier but at the same time far more predictable. They’ve taken the fun out of it.

I’ve been able to see things in a new perspective since living outside the country, even in such a short spell. Ironically I had to leave Aberdeen to get involved in the oil industry for the first time, but it has given me the chance to speak to non-Scots about independence. The English here are very sceptical, even though most I’ve interacted with are from the North-East of England and aren’t big fans of London either. They don’t see the advantages of a split and looked at things from a purely business/oil point of view, but when pressed on other areas they don’t really have an opinion, as some have only spent some time in Aberdeen for work at one point in their lives. And they’re probably stinking rich.

The Germans I have spoken to have mostly been taxi drivers, but bloody hell do they all have an opinion. On several occasions, after I exhaust my German repertoire with the destination and then “Ooh, es ist sehr kalt! Ich komme aus Schottland so das ist OK”*, they ask me about the referendum. They all know about it. Their main issue is that they don’t understand why the vote is so far away, but in general the discussion always comes around to Europe. Maybe the Germans have a bit of a chip on their shoulder about propping up other nations, but across the board they’ve said if Scotland gets the chance to leave the EU they should grab it with both hands.

*(“Ooh, it’s very cold! I’m from Scotland so it’s OK ” – Ed)

As for the Scots I know over here, a couple are already Yes voters and the rest are just not engaged with it yet. I’m working on it. The funny thing is, when the media and the politicians demand hard facts and evidence on the issue, I’ve found you can make people think seriously without any of that. Without spending too much time in the pub dragging down the conversation, I try to ask indysceptics two things:

“Even in this world of more globalisation and more interaction, the amount of countries since World War 2 has doubled and most are poorer than Scotland. If they can do it, why can’t we?”

“That’s a fair point” is the only reply I get.

“If Scotland has been given the power to control education, the emergency services, health, justice and transport, and you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who says Westminster looks after these things more competently, why can’t Scotland also control foreign affairs, broadcasting, gun laws, gambling…?”

“That’s a fair point” is the only reply I get.

I don’t want to bang on about how important this site is (among others) in forming my own opinion, but as someone who has stuck with the ‘don’t know’ tag for a good while, sites like this have been incredible. I could pick out loads that have helped me explain stories to those who are currently less informed.

This one is as simple, yet as important, as it gets. This one from last August punches you in the face with the fact that a No vote means – at best – the status quo in terms of powers for Scotland. No matter the combination of parties in power in Edinburgh and London after the next elections, the piece sets out exactly how future negotiation between governments will go. Not well, it turns out.

(It also turns out anything written by Alan Cochrane puts people off the no campaign. The more everybody gangs up on Alex Salmond, the less people hate Alex Salmond and the more obvious it is that it’s a diversion tactic.)

I’m disillusioned with politics, the UK voting system, the press and the scandals. In the past few years alone we’ve had phone-hacking, banker bonuses, MPs expenses, long-term police cover-ups, shushed-up celebrity paedophilia – does Scotland get unfairly tarred with the same brush to outsiders because we are part of the UK?

When Scots go abroad some say it’s ridiculous to suggest foreigners can’t tell the difference between Scotland and England, but in my experience it’s true. I had to draw a map of Britain on the whiteboard at work to show the difference to German colleagues who kept lumping me in with the English. Chinese people I met on honeymoon couldn’t fathom the difference – not even people from Hong Kong.

I’m lucky to get the chance to experience new things. Others aren’t so lucky. Those in poverty must watch a Scottish Government do what they can with the powers they have and watch the majority of powers that affect them be wielded by those in London. Regular readers here already know about the current coalition government’s appalling welfare “reforms”, about which Holyrood can do (almost) nothing.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are vastly different in wants and needs. Westminster can’t look out for the best interests of all. And not only can’t it, it shouldn’t and it doesn’t have to.

I’ve been reluctant to come out with a firm position up to now because I feel if I did so, I’ll find it harder to get through to people when in conversation because I’m “biased”. It doesn’t happen online but in person I feel people ponder my thoughts a lot more, not just because I’ve done my research but because I’m willing to listen to both sides and take everything on board. If I say I’m not fully convinced but I can show I’m engaged, people will listen because they do want to learn more as we approach 2014.

But I think now I’ve just been delaying the inevitable. Right up to the day I write this, I’ve described myself as ‘undecided’. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in denial, because I can’t imagine voting No anymore. I can’t imagine waking up the day after having voted No and being happy with my decision, whatever the result.

One of my original feelings has altered, then. I’m still crap at making decisions. The media is actually getting worse in some ways in covering the referendum, but it’s hardly at Chinese or North Korean levels yet. We’re not in a dictatorship, as much as actual sitting MPs and Lords want us to believe we are. We should be thankful for that.

But can a Yes vote deliver a better Scotland for the people who live there? Could it transform Scotland into a more confident and equal place than it is now, to those from the outside looking in? Taking the evidence so far, it’s a strong possibility.

Scotland needs to be grown-up. Scotland needs to start taking responsibility for all its own actions. As we get closer to the referendum, it’s becoming more and more obvious how little the UK political class (and the commentators from across the spectrum) give a damn about Scotland. The UK general election in 2015, the possibility of an EU referendum in 2017 and the supposed rise of UKIP are more important to these folk and I can’t decide if it’s arrogant or ignorant of them to completely dismiss the possibility of the dissolution of the UK. Just days ago analysis by Warwick University’s Michael Gardiner showed to what extent these classes just can’t – or won’t – comprehend Scottish debate.

As I said, I can’t imagine voting No. What I can imagine, though, are lots of people I know doing so, and if I asked them their reasons afterwards I’m pretty sure I could challenge many of them fairly successfully. It will be too late then. This is what worries me now, and this is what spurs me on to keep involved, and to discuss at every opportunity with those who aren’t engaged.

Over the past few months I’ve seen friends at home begin to read into it, people who don’t care for politics. I’ve never talked to my family in my entire life about politics but I will now. If voters have solid reasons for voting no, then I will accept it. But we must all talk to as many people as possible about it in the first place. We must not forget the undecided. With the correct, positive strategy they are there for the taking.

To show that this had weighed on my mind a little bit, last night I watched the final episode of the American TV show Fringe. One of the characters patted the other on the shoulder just before the big climax to the show, and said: “It’s not about fate. Yours or mine. It’s about changing fate, and protecting our children.” I immediately thought of my non-existent children, and my upcoming vote in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.

So it’s a long-winded Yes, but it’s a Yes. It feels good to type that.

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    158 to “Picking a side”

    1. Yer a wee blether son but yer awright.

    2. Silverytay says:

      Ray , Welome aboard .  With people like you and others like you we will win this one .
      Independence will be to late to do me any good but I will be voting YES to improve things for future generations .

    3. Albalha says:

      Thoroughly enjoyed this thank you.

      I agree it’s about the don’t knows, undecideds, lets hope we can win the debate with enough of them.

      It will take all types of YES voters to get us over the line, I’m not a political party member, no intention of being one, I realise that puts me in a category, elsewhere, described as ‘twee’, fair enough.

      We all have but one vote, the political landscape of Scotland will be decided later.     


    4. Donald Kerr says:

      Well done. Another great article.

      “We must not forget the undecided.”

      The above quote is the key to winning the debate and gaining a YES vote in 2014. Engage the undecided with logical and reasoned argument and bring them round. Talk to as many as we can and fall out with no one, even those opposed – there will be others listening and watching and they may take your side. This is about talking to family, friends and colleagues – everyone and anyone.

      Your website goes a very long way in helping by providing reasoned and well researched information.

    5. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      I must admit, I have been a potential “Yes” for a heckuva long time now. I felt that way during the seventies when we had a flush of Westminster MPs, and then then strategy appeared to be to try and get a majority of the Scots MPs, so that the SNP could then claim to have a mandate to negotiate for independence. At that time, we also had the Liberals (no Libdems yet) and Labour making assorted references to home rule and devolution.

      We know how that ended up. The funny thing is, if anything, it polarised opinion, and managed to turn the Tories into a Toxic brand in Scotland. In a way, this set the scene for a revival of fortunes for the independence brigade, although there were those who felt that this would derail the independence train.

      Now, we have had a couple of elections for the Scottish government, and seen the sort of things that the pro union parties can stoop, (seen the sort of things to which the pro union parties can stoop?), and seen the strong comments pointing out the negative campaigning to which we were subjected, we are seeing people being put off the whole deal.

      Now, we are seeing the “Yes” campaign, (admittedly, headed up by, but not solely represented by, the SNP), achieving things previously beyond consideration. Some might say that a lot of planning has gone into this to cover as many options as possible, and setting of traps for unwary unionists. (Look at the assorted accusations made against Alex Salmond, who is not an uneducated man, but who simply refers HIMSELF for investigation to pull the rug from under the “No”s)

      There is a way to go, and I do not think it will be cut and dried, but firstly, a “No”, won’t be the end of things, as I see people now who realise that independence in their lifetimes could be a distinct possibility. There are a lot of undecideds who need to be convinced one way or the other, and TBH “better the devil you know”, does not cut it without some actual positive things to say about it…

    6. Stuart Black says:

      Thanks Ray, great article and some food for thought. The undecided are key.

    7. Luigi says:

      Ray, you certainly took your time, but this is not unusual. You had every right to take your time and consider all options and possibilities. The road to supporting Scottish independence is a serious, personal process. Some people who now support independence have taken longer than you have been on this planet to come to the same conclusion!

    8. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      Silvertay, my Mother is 82 this year, and she is still a staunch supporter of the cause. She would like to see it too, and is excited at the fact that she might actually see it.

    9. MJB says:

      People keep on saying they want certainty,it`s not about that,it`s about making choices and accepting it for better or worse,the tipping point will be, ironically, the certainty of what will happen to Scotland and its people from remaining with Westminster.

      Westminster will be the the death of the UK,as,i think,Rays post kind of intimates. 

    10. Keef says:

      Thanks for all the time you obviously put in to writing this Ray. I’m sure it will be all the more worth it when you learn how it helped ‘undecided’ voters see the light as it were.

      Also a huge thanks for one of the links you provided (Michael Gardiner) in your great piece. I found his article to be very revealing.

      tchuss! viel gluck und alles gute ins  Hamburg.

    11. muttley79 says:

      Good article Ray.  We need to win over more undecided voters (as you were until recently). 

    12. David Smillie says:

      The only other countries I’ve lived in outside the UK are Norway and the Irish Republic.  I’m good at making decisions.  Guess which way I’ll be voting.

    13. douglas clark says:

      It is not easy to leave the left right paradigm behind, It is when they leave us alone with our thoughts that these ideas desert us for new ideas and new thoughts.

      It seems to me that we have the potential – as a group – to be a lot better than we are just now.

      Embracing that idea, that we can be good for everyone in our society, not just the few, seems to me to speak to a Scottish idea.

      For we seem to reject the toff tory concept, the banker’s bonus philosophy, if you will. It seems to me that that is anathema to most Scots.

      Which would be a moral judgement, not shared, apparently, by a sufficient element of our good neighbours.

      If I am right about that, we will win independence.

      Because we will have shown ourselves to care about everyones’ future, those that have come here to live and those that have always lived here. What we will disrespect are chancers and loons.

      Least, that is the way I hope it works out.

    14. Paul Martin says:

      Great and encouraging article by Ray. I can only say that there are probably hundreds of thousands of Ray’s out there. Some of whom will travel the same journey and some of whom are actually just needing a bit of info, support and reassurance to get them to a Yes vote.

      Personally I’ve stopped being quite as bashful about my politics as I used to be. In the last week when my barber and a taxi-driver asked what I was getting up to  that day, I just came out with the fact I was doing stuff for YesScotland. That prompted a conversation and the taxi-driver in particular was a “want to vote Yes but…”. I’m not claiming instant conversion but put a few arguments out there that they agreed with. If we all do a litle bit of that …help people along the way to Yes, then we WILL get there.

      My advice to everyone out there -if not on this forum – is to help the other Rays and Ray’esses out there by having the confidence to “come out” yourselves and engage folk in conversation about #indyref in the coming months. You’ll often be surprised just how close some folk are to being Yes !

    15. billy says:

      I don’t think you will be eligible to vote. But at least you will be supporting us. So thanks for that.

    16. Dave Smith says:

      “Scotland needs to be grown-up.”

      Ray. Thanks for taking the time to think this through and making your informed choice, you are a credit to your nation.
      This is, as you correctly state about the future and the children of Scotland. It’s about hope that one day we will be able to better shape our country, its infrastructure and its institutions to meet the needs of those in whose interests it is to act. 
      In fact to cut a long story short; it’s just about hope!
      Welcome to the future! 

    17. prayersaint says:

      Thanks for this article, Ray, which I have tweeted a link to.  I am sorry that you were branded a cybernat and agree there should be more light and less heat for those genuinely trying to find a way.  Facts are one thing, but for me the Union is a relationship to be worked at, and I am not ready for a ‘divorce’. Unfortunately, living South of the Border, I am disenfranchised.

    18. Don’t worry about taking your time to decide.  This is a big decision and should not be rushed or ill considered. (That is the argument for the referendum not happening until 2014, BTW) As an American living in Scotland I offer that my people have done very well with independence so I can highly recommend it. 

    19. Dramfineday says:

      Thank you Ray for taking the time to write that. I enjoyed the observations and more importantly, the conclusion!

    20. Callum says:

      Don’t feel bad about being an expat.  It’s been the rite of passage for many successful Scots for the last 4 decades or so.  One thing though, Caledonia will call you home eventually.  I came home after a decade in part because of devolution – it gave us the countryside act and I’m a fanatical mountain biker.  Scotland now has the best biking in the world. 

    21. Braco says:

      Thanks Ray for a very considered article. I have been a confirmed YES for so long now that it really helps to gain an insight into the logic and arguments that will ‘bring on’ the undecided further down our road. I think my main thoughts on this are that we have time and so only a few well chosen arguments at a time when speaking to the non political (but interested) is the way to build the foundation on which the inevitably intense public debate will later be held. The more intense, well informed and passionate we can make that later debate (probably only really catching fire in the final stages of the 16 week official campaigning period) then the more certain, I feel, we will be to win. To be certain to maximise that final period of debate, when everyone is engaged, the YES campaign must do a lot of day to day, non glamorous priming of the general electorate now. I do get the impression that this is being achieved slowly, day by day. It is important that the electorate is aware generally of the questions and issues prior to the real debate but without the need for them to come to any sort of definitive answers which I feel will be discovered by them during the intensive period of debate just prior to decision time. This is why I am not worried by Poll results and I won’t worry about them until very close to the final date (if at all)

    22. Jen says:

      An excellent article, thank you for taking the time to write it. A very honest and open account of the journey all people are on in Scotland. 

      I think everyone in Scotland is on journey regarding the vote: some have stopped before they started and are walking by the station (no voters), some are unsure and are still looking at the departures list (undecideds) and and some are settled, waiting for the journey to begin (yes voters).

      A no vote is a scary prospect for all people in Scotland, as not only will be austerity be awful but the desire for punishment will be become shrill and deadly for many in Scotland.   The referendum is a chance for change for the better.   If we vote NO, I sometimes think, we deserve all we get for being “too stupid”. 

      Welcome aboard. 


    23. Castle Rock says:

      Thoroughly enjoyed the article.  The article in National Collective by Alan Bissett is also worth reading.

      Can’t give you a better compliment than the first comment so I’ll repeat it Yer a wee blether son but yer awright”

    24. Alan MacD says:

      Yea cheers for that Ray, im out in Moscow so i can relate to the debate becoming a bit of an obsession, they say that ‘There is nothing more Scottish than a Scotsman who doesn’t live in Scotland” 
      i think its because we cant talk about it anytime of the day to like-minded Scots ie in the pub or at home ect, we need to get our various opinions on the matter from the internet mostly……I suppose in that respect, the term Cybernat is very fitting to us my friend but not in the derrogoratory manner that somehow is now commonplace.

      What im trying to say is being away from Scotland for so long is a neccesary evil that makes you truly aware and appreciate why we love our little part of the world so much even if we have become disillusioned over time.

      I will be home next year for the vote…… 


    25. muttley79 says:

      I just saw the end of Sunday Politics Scotland, and one of the two women journalists had a sly dig at Cybernats.  No mention of the abuse from the No campaign at all.  Whenever journalists start to talk about Cybernats you know they are diehard unionists.

    26. Training Day says:

      Well done Ray


      “the YES campaign must do a lot of day to day, non glamorous priming of the general electorate now”

      Yes indeed.  From today’s Daily Heil (didn’t buy it, but looked at their ‘poll’ results and paeans to Bitter Together while standing in the newsagent – Bitter Together are to send out a million leaflets and target 120,000 ‘soft’ SNP voters (yeah, I know, it’s the Daily Heil).  Apart from exposing the absurdity about ‘funding limits’ for the last 16 weeks (we will be massively outgunned by the monies flowing into Bitter Together from Westminster prior to that, not to mention the role of the BBC), one does wonder when Yes are going to become more visible to the uncommitted?  If we allow Bitter Together too much time to set the context at this stage we are giving ourselves unnecessary grief for the months ahead.

      Please note again that the above came from the ‘newspaper’ which supported Oswald Moseley and his blackshirts in the 1930s.

    27. Seasick Dave says:

      Keep up the good work, Ray.

      I think that now is the time that we all stop hiding our lights and come out into the open with our proud support for Independence.

      Engage family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances  and strangers in the process with open, friendly and confident dialogue.

      You don’t need to know every wherefore and why but at least have the savvy to be able to point people in the right direction to discover information for themselves. 

      I thought that it was uplifting last night to watch the performers at the end of the Folk Awards singing Caledonia and the warm reception afforded them at the end.

      I’m sure that your conversion has been made, Ray, but keep contributing to the debate with your worthy articles.

    28. DanTDog says:

      Well thought out…well expressed…welcome aboard…Bring it on!!

    29. Braco says:

      Training Day, ironically i think that the work being done by the MSM and The Better No team at the moment is just going to add to the intensity of the final important decision time debate. They are continually raising questions without answers in the hope of scaring the electorate into the NO camp once and for all. All that this is doing, in my opinion, is unintentionally building up an expectation in the electorate that answers should be and will be forthcoming before the debate is over. There is only one place that engaged and inquisitive electorate are going to find those positive answers to build a reasoned and positive case for the future direction of travel their country should take. They are unwittingly simply doing the priming necessary for decisive debate too. It is only DEBATE that we need, as the arguments for Independence, in my view, have already been won. (All publicity is good publicity as long as it is vigorously questioned, countered and dissected in readiness for the comparison and choice inevitably to be made by the Scots electorate). I am very confident.

    30. martyn says:

      great read and very true

    31. Holebender says:

      This is why it has been necessary and right to delay the referendum until late next year. It has given people the time they needed to think things through and reach the only rational conclusion. The impatience of the NOs has been a massive bonus too!

    32. Tris says:

      I was interested that you felt that you were ignored if you were a “don’t know”. It’s a remarkably short sighted policy!

      I’ve been blogging recently on the necessity to engage with the “don’t knows”.  The Yes and No camps are firmly entrenched. Few of them will be tempted to the other side. The non thinking “don’t knows” probably won’t vote. The thinking “don’t knows” are the people who will decide our future.

      You win them over by talking sense, or your version of it,  and you try to avoid obfuscation, and most certainly downright lies. 

      Intelligent people see through that. 

      As bloggers and posters on blogs, we need to engage with, not ignore, or ban “don’t knows”.

      Viel Glück mit Ihrem Job in Deutschland. 

    33. Ken Mac says:

      Excellent article Ray,welcome.

      Could I just say to the number of people on here who have said It is all about convincing the don’t knows, it isn’t. Note the recent poll showing no change in the yes vote but a 5% move from no to don’t know. Many supposed no voters are simply following human nature. People are naturally resistant to change. No is their default position when they have insufficient knowledge and clarity to engender the confidence required to make the decision to embrace change. That is why the no campaign spreads disinformation to deny that knowledge and undermine confidence. Most nos are only a couple of steps away from yes. Help them take those steps.

    34. R Louis says:

      Excellent article, but the author missed the chance for one of the best political cliffhangers in recent Scottish history, by naming his vote.  However, frivolity aside, many of the points raised are very,very pertinent.

      It is way too easy if you are firmly in the YES camp (as I am), to come over  much too strongly.  It is such a temptation, as to people like myself it is what I might call, blindingly obvious that independence would be an extremely good thing.  

      Having had numerous discussions similar to the author of the above article, I now proceed very slowly, and have come to realise that in reality there is no need to ‘persuade’ a yes vote, as it is much easier to do.  I merely open up discussion about key points made by whoever I speak to.  If they state some of the unionist nonsense, I listen, take it on board, then point out how the truth is………, and so on.  I do it very gently.  
      I have found, that once people start to see the facts, and the utter lack of an argument for London rule, then slowly there attitude changes, and it is they who start coming to me for answers to some of the silly scare stories (like re-patriation of the panda’s from Edinburgh zoo, or England bombing Edinburgh airport).

      The fact is, that as there IS NO POSITIVE CASE (despite us being promised it by Darling and his Tory chum David Cameron) for London rule, we already are on the winning side.  I genuinely now see that independence will not only end London rule, but more, much more than that, it really will open up so many new business opportunities in Scotland.  It really will be such a positive step, that even talking in the mildest way with doubters, eventually gets them to understand the vast benefits that will accrue. 

      The other side, of course, is that a heavy handed approach, merely suggests that the case is weak, and that just as the BBC and others say, Nationalists are all ‘nutters’ etc.

      The one important thing, I’ve realised however, is that there is no magic fix.  The BBC are never going to be even handed, neither are the likes of the Herald or the laughingly titled ‘Scotsman’ newspaper. We can complain, and moan about it, but history shows us, that the BBC is an organ of Westminster.  In every instance with countries demanding independence from London rule, they have endured the same treatment consisting of bias, misinformation and scare stories about ‘going it alone’.  They did it with Ireland, they did it with India, and now they are doing it with Scotland.

      It will take us all, bit by bit, little by little, getting the message across individually.  Nobody else is going to do it for us.  The day after the referendum, and a NO result, it will be too late to realise that it needs ALL of us to make the case. Nobody else will do it for us.

      Proud to vote YES, in 2014. 

    35. Hetty says:

      Great article, but worrying to hear many people are still disengaged about it all.
      I still try to talk to people about it, the undecided and the no camp, but they inevitably shy away saying it will wreck the economy etc, ha it already is wrecked I say!
      We most definitely need a yes vote otherwise Scotland will be ruined by those in power in westminster, whoever they are.
      As for the people you meet from the NE of England, interesting to hear they can’t see why Scotland would want to be independent. I have friends in Newcastle who support the yes camp wholeheartedly, but they are those who are definitely not stinking rich. The NE of England is once again the hardest hit by the tory-con dem cuts, there are absolutely no jobs to speak of and wages are horrendously low, many poeple working with few or no workers rights in order to keep a job. Who knows what will happen with the welfare security net about to be pulled out from under the feet of the very the poorest, including here in Scotland.

    36. Braco says:

      R Louis,
      A brilliant post. This has been my experience too. The argument is so strong all that is needed is gentle exposure to the interested for such people to find there own way to what is so obviously the best way forward for Scotland. All we need is the debate and it most definitely is coming!
      Thanks again

    37. ianbrotherhood says:

      The case for No is based on circular reasoning, only sustainable by fear, denial, and willful ignorance.
      No in a nutshell – ‘we’re better off together because…we just are.’
      It is a reactionary, cowardly and morally putrid position which collapses under the slightest scrutiny.

    38. Doug Daniel says:

      A good read, Ray. I love reading about people’s journey from “don’t know” to “yes”, partly because as a lifelong yesser, I’ve no story to tell to relate to undecided voters I come across.

      The article had me thinking about something related to the stushie yesterday. The kind of folk who obsess over how “the Cybernats” are damaging our argument tend to view Wings as being detrimental because they don’t like Stu’s no-bullshit manner. Yet it’s the only indy blog I’ve seen being linked to on sites that have nothing to do with independence (particularly football forums). I think we need to just let each other get on with our own ways of promoting independence instead of trying to micromanage things. 

      The reality is independence will win because it’s the right decision, not because we’ve all been nicey-nice and refused to call bullshit when someone lies about indy. 

    39. Braco says:

      Ian, and scrutiny is most certainly coming. This is why a Referendum was absolutely never in the Unionist plan and why every effort has been made to avoid one, whether by electoral systems, unwillingness to form coalitions or simply by not taking part in normal oppositional politics. Well it’s going to happen, the debate will be had and god help the NO camp if all they have is the crap they have been shoveling so far.

    40. Dcanmore says:

      Great article Ray, thanks!

      I left Scotland in 2008 for the bright lights of London, purely a personal decision to change direction of my life and start afresh. Not realising it, but what that has done is remove myself from the comfort bubble of the BBC in Scotland and the MSM, fitba and the plucky wee Scot that did something good, as well as having those evenings wallowing in historical sentiment with friends. I see Scotland now in a different light, the people and its place in the world. I see small countries, some of them relatively new, striving ahead with vigour and enthusiasm as they make their mark on the global stage. Scotland is being left behind, ignored, as the Westminster Government is engaged in empowering London into City State status. If there is a NO vote then Scotland will soon be nothing more than a footnote in some history books by Simon Schama. Something needs to be done, but this time we need to do it ourselves for once. Ray is right when he says that Scotland needs to grow up.

      What I would say to the undecided: Do you want Scotland to be the only country in history to be offered independence and refuse it, while other nations have had their populations slaughtered trying to gain it? What would that say about us?

      or Why does Finland, Serbia and Slovakia have buoyant car and truck building industries employing thousands and not Scotland? They’re not too wee, too poor and too stupid are they?

    41. Marcia says:

      My own personal feeling at the moment is that a lot of people are not yet receiving any positive information for a Yes vote other than the tiny snippets that our broadcasting or press allow. This should change over the course of the campaign. At a pensioner’s club that I joined recently I listened to a couple talking about the coming referendum. One woman come out with all the usual drivel, too wee……  One on the otherhand asked my opinion (none know that I stuff envelopes for the SNP/Yes campaign) and I gave her a plausable answer to her questions and she is now veering towards a Yes vote. I shall continue with my softly softly approach to all of them at the pensioner’s club. Just don’t feel that jumping in with feet first in the way there.

      I see that the poll I got asked by Angus Reid during the week and in todays Hate on Sunday has Yes 32 (no change) No 47 (a drop of 3 per cent) DK 21.   

    42. Scott says:

      Very good article and has echoes of my journey from the dark side to the light. There are many more of us I’m sure.

      We must focus on the undecided voters. that is where the battle will be won . There will be very little change trying to convince a die hard Britnat. (although I was one only a few months ago). So maybe there’s hope there too. 

      We must continue to engage where ever possible and prime the public as best we can for when the real debate gets under way and the howitsers are brought out.
      We must understand the issues from both sides in order to facilitate reasoned debate and arguement. And also to think what the next move of the enemy will be. I can’t think what else they have to offer though. Or what big issue that they will come up with that will thwart our argument that they haven’t already used, but rest assured they will also have a plan.

      The only way we will win is from the ground up. Against us is the massed ranks of the main stream media, the 3 mainstream political parties in the UK as well as various business, social groups and orders. That is a formidable force. If we underestimate them we do at our peril.
      At the moment I have a feeling that the tide is turning in our favour and look at us as the skirmishers preparing for the main assault. If we do our jobs we will win – We MUST!
      It’s all down to how well we do and keep building our arguments in fact,reason and common sense, pressed home with articulation and supporting evidence.
      Good luck boys and girls I look forward to taking to the field with you. 

    43. Vronsky says:

      It’s an honest tale of a personal journey.  I read and enjoyed your previous pieces but I must say that you didn’t come across as undecided.  It was more that you knew what you wanted, but were reluctant to be swept uncritically along by a popular tide.  Piet Hein did a little book of verses called ‘Grooks’ , little rhyming aphorisms.  He suggested that if you didn’t know what to do you should flip a coin.  While it’s spinning in the air, you will suddenly realise that you know which way you want it to land.  I think you knew which way you wanted your penny to land.

    44. Braco says:

      Very true that and a nice piece of advice, as long as it’s over a subject that the individual has seriously ruminated over but without obvious success.

    45. Vronsky says:

      Not really on topic, but (just for fun) have you read The Diceman?

    46. Christian Wright says:

      “I can only say that there are probably hundreds of thousands of Ray’s out there. Some of whom will travel the same journey and some of whom are actually just needing a bit of info, support and reassurance to get them to a Yes vote.”

      Could I gently point out that you are to a man, woman, and trasgendered individual, all anoraks.

      It is just so easy to be seduced by the notion that we are representative of voters. We are not. Most voters and especially the undecided, are not like Ray. That is to say, Ray is the exception, 
      not the rule.

      I would be astonished were their hundreds of thousands of undecided Mr McRobbie’s earnestly beavering away, doing due diligence on matters politic. It aint happening. 

      The great majority of folks are not engaged in the DETAIL of this debate and never will be. That goes in spades for the low-information voters (the bulk of the undecideds)  who are critical to our plans if we are to prevail.

      That part of the aforementioned demographic who will be swayed by economic arguments will be so on the basis of a general sense that independence will be revenue neutral, positive, or negative. For them it will in the end be decided by their gut – not emotional gut but a blunt instrument of fuzzy logic – signaling that independence will be bad for them or that independence will be good for them.

      So far we have singularly failed to reach our key demographic and every poll from here to Timbuktu is telling us that. That is why as a share of the vote we have been stuck around a third, FOREVER. 

      The movement we have seen has been in NOers transitioning to uncertainty, not the undecideds coming to us.  The statistical data are the bringers of truth here, and we need listen to them.

      We can only reach that mission-critical cohort through inculcation. Think of it as selling soap powder – simple themes repeated, and repeated, and then rinsed and repeated some more. We are not going to reach them via well-constructed theses expertly delivered. Spreading the word person to person will undoubtedly help but it is far from being enough. 

      The campaign’s ground game can help consolidate opinion and crucially get the punters to the polls on the day, but our target audience needs to be persuaded to adopt the required consensus (that we’re better off being masters of our own house) beforehand.

      With respect to these well-grounded folks with better things to do with lives, a few very simple themes well pounded, will trump considered argument any day.


    47. Braco says:

      No I have not but it sounds like a very interesting concept ,if a bit dirty (snigger). I like the idea of the coin flip forcing the moment of decision on a person. The actual side the coin lands is of no real relevance but the action forces self determination or awareness of a subconscious desire from the flipper. The Diceman sounds like a form of slavery where the individual is in complete thrall to the chance of the dice in every decision to be made. I can see how powerful an analogy that could be for so many different aspects of human existence. I will keep an eye open for a copy.

    48. K Mackay says:

      Great to have you onboard Ray, thanks for the article. I’d suspected that was the kind of reception undecideds got from the No camp, but great (if not surprising) that you found our side alot more welcoming 🙂

       Let us know when you’re coming home so we can send a welcome party 🙂 

    49. Macart says:

      I’ve never seen anything wrong with people declaring indecision. In some ways its quite a brave thing to admit to in open forum, especially if they happen to be bright and inquisitive. It can sometimes be quite intimidating to folks like myself who are definitely lacking in areas such as EU, law or economics. I find it quite useful to keep an eye open for sites or posters which can answer such difficult queries from a potential voter, admit my lack of knowledge in that area and then point them in hopefully the right direction for their answer.

      Good article Ray, welcome aboard.

    50. Vronsky says:

      @christian wright
      Bravo, bravo!  We have to prise it out of the hands of the anoraks.  So much debate about the question.  Let’s go for ownership of the answers.  I wish we could offer this:
      “Scotland should be an independent country”
      (a) Yes
      (b) No (seriously?)

    51. squarego says:

      Thanks for this great article. I hope you make it back to Scotland before the vote.

      I think it’s worth keeping in mind that while the undecideds might be the most likely to move to “Yes” at the moment – Almost everyone who will vote in the referendum will do so to choose what they believe to be best for their country, their family and themselves. Most of those who vote “No” will do so because they think that’s best. We know it’s not the best way forward because we’ve looked at the facts – others haven’t seen the facts yet, or have had too much misinformation thrown at them by the media and the No campaign.
      I believe that most of the No’s would be Yes’s given the right information in a form which resonates with them. No one’s a lost cause until the ballot boxes are closed.

      Looking ahead to Scotland’s future beyond the referendum – how much better would it be to step into our new independent future with 80 or 90% of people on board rather than 51% of the vote?

    52. squarego says:

      @Christian Wright

      Well put. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but still true.

      Here’s another.
      Has anyone looked at the Yes Scotland website recently? No, thought not. It’s not the place we go for information, support or a rallying call is it? Yet it’s supposed to be leading the campaign.

      Have a look. Tell me the front page of that website isn’t crap. 

    53. Davy says:

      Hello Ray, 
                          Here’s my hand and welcome to your country, a lot of us are walking towards a bright and positive future for our families & Scotland 2014, its real fine tae ha your company on the journey.


      Alba Gu snooker loopy!  

    54. BillyBigbaws says:

      @Christian Wright, @squarego,

      Sadly, I believe you are both spot-on. I was at a Yes inaugural meeting where the assembled crowd were asked if they had heard of the McCrone Report. Very few of them had – and these were people already willing to be involved in the campaign for independence. If something as basic (and fundamental, in my view) as McCrone isn’t common knowledge among the troops on the ground, what hope is there that the wider public will ever hear of it? Low-info voters will decide the result, as they decide all results. The SNP currently seem to make an announcement (like Nicola’s pledge over women’s pensions) and then just let it fade into the ether. These messages have to be hammered home, repeatedly, even ad nauseam, in the same way the neoliberal parties have hammered home their depressingly effective attack on the welfare state. Saying something once doesn’t mean everyone will hear it.

      I don’t go to the Yes Scotland or SNP sites for information, because… well, because it’s not there, is it? Not really. The game has to be upped considerably, and it’s not the “cybernats” who are letting the side down right now.

    55. Alan MacD says:

      Aye fair enough square go….

      its not somewhere i go for updates on the independence campaign but its not a crap website, in all fairness its a well polished,well designed site that is meant to be the professional side of our campaign……a stepping stone if you will for people finding themselves interested in what all the fuss is about…i have to admit that it was one of the first sites that i frequented before i found all you hooligans and nutters  on Wings and Bella ect. 


    56. Braco says:

      Christian Wright,
      what you are suggesting is of course good sense and if I might say so conventional political thought and theory. The problem comes in how would you suggest getting these simple ‘hammer thud’ messages across to the low information voter when denied access to the Media tools that these techniques were invented to utilise? No News papers, quality or redtops, no broadcast media and not even a local paper. Worse than that, all of these are in the hands of our political enemies and are busy pumping out the very same ‘hammer thud’ messages against independence day in day out. Yet how have we reached the position which we find ourselves? With a MAJORITY independence government (in a proportional parliament), the wording of a referendum agreed and the timing to be set just around the corner. It was achieved, in my view, in the development of a new political convention. One of grass roots discussion followed by good old fashioned conversion of the undecided and then decided. This technique is slow to get going but once on the move it really is immune to the type of shallow ‘sell them like soap’ electioneering so prized by our opposition. In fact I think that ‘our’ technique of educating, first ourselves as missionaries and then each of us taking it upon ourselves to discuss, cajole, tempt and explain ourselves to all that we meet. This entails listening to people and treating their questions and opinions seriously and trying to answer them as honestly and positively as possible. In effect it’s a tailored campaign to the individual that is being spoken to. I think that the NO campaign are going to find their  Hammer thud messages a real draw back on the doorstep as these type of slogans are so obviously pre packaged and so feel like what they are, a political line being spun by politicians. I don’t view the electorate as you do. They may be low information voters at the moment with two years to go but they will certainly educate themselves in the final run up to the decision. It’s our role to be there to make that as easy for them as possible. Otherwise your view of democracy must be even more cynical than my own and that is pretty cynical. I just don’t feel that your analysis to fight a war with weapons we do not possess is of much use by itself. How do you feel we have reached this point?

    57. creag an tuirc says:

      Wee story about those of the no persuation.

      I have a friend on FB that was a firm NO in the referendum, he said “it was not necessary”. I said nothing about this to him. some little things appeared in his timeline about some of the things the tories where doing and he was angry with them. then recently he posted the Kevin Mckenna piece with “I think i’m starting to waver” through the week he posted the QT nuclear dumping ground youtube video with the comment “Message recieved and understood”

      So the point of this post is: he is starting to do his own homework and has went from a definite NO to I’m seriously thinking about it. There is a large selection of the NO’s that can be converted and then there are the NOrons, where no amout of reason or logic will make them change their minds, you know the types.

      Anyway don’t rule out converting the No’s

    58. Deochandoris says:

      What I find is some people think that a vote for independence is a vote for SNP.  They can’t seem to separate the two in their minds – especially the older folks.  My own parents, for example, just keep reiterating the same old “I’ll never vote for SNP”.  I know it’s just perception but its something that needs to be addressed.  I have tried to explain that after Scotland has her independence (please God) the Scottish people will still be able to vote in who they want in referendums, SNP or whoever.

    59. Vronsky says:

      I wonder if anyone has ever thought about it this way before.  But if Unionism is a wonderful thing, there will be wonderful songs to celebrate it.  Independence has many wonderful songs. Where is the Unionist answer to this?

    60. andrew_haddow says:

      Surely part of the campaign must be to cast doubt on the veracity of the media. People don’t like being lied to!

    61. Doonfooter says:

      A conversation with my mother this weekend, active pensioner in her church and various local charities, has me downhearted. She reported that none of her pensioner pals were Yes voters and that each had expressed their horror that she was even considering that indepence nonsense! I asked her do they not realise what a No vote will mean? No she replied they just thinks that things will go on as normal. But what about universal benefits, I said, free care for the elderley, free prescrpitions, bus passes, free uni for their grandchildren? Only a Yes vote can protect these. I’m all for a positive campaign but we need to spell out to those complacent No voters exactly what a No vote will mean and if that means a bit of negativity – so be it!

    62. scottish_skier says:

      That Angus Reid poll is consistent with other polls which appear to show the ‘No’ peaked at just a smidgen over 50% in the latter part of last year, up from the historical ~42% standard value it was at just after the 2011 elections when the Yes slipped a few points ahead. As I’ve said before, I expect over the course of this year the No will return to the low 40’s as people transfer back to don’t know. Notice I say ‘back to’; these people like the idea of independence  they just panicked a little recently and understandably so. At the same time, the Yes will creep up slowly to give us level pegging as we head towards the spring of 2014.

      Certainly, the poll patterns so far look very positive and have been following trends you might expect based on events.

      As noted before, my gut feeling (and with some little bits of evidence) is that better together are being set-up for a big fall on the EU thingy. That will probably be a torpedo to arrive around the time of the white paper.

    63. Silverytay says:

      creag an tuiric   Scottish skier has been saying for a while now that a lot of the no vote are soft no voters and are waiting to be convinced .  Recent opinion polls are confirming this as the no vote are beginning to slip and while not going over to the YES side they are moving over to the dont knows .  newsnetscotland has the most recent poll up that states 41% of people think Scotland would be better off with independence , we just need to move them over to the YES camp .

    64. Silverytay says:

      scottish_skier  Apologies , you must have sent your post as I was typing out mine . If I had seen your post I would have left mine out .

    65. Cameron B says:

      I do not know who Christian Wright is, but the more I read from him the more I agree with him, unfortunately. Especially the point he makes about the intellectual argument being “owned” by anoraks, who IMHO have little knowledge off, or in fact anything in common with, the disengaged voters who will most probably decide the outcome in 2014. Incidentally, I do not like the term low-information voters. I have made this point before, but would you expect anyone to vote for you after you have described them as being thick and clueless?
      Unfortunately, I also agree with Braco’s criticism of Christian’s point, as I see the MSM as BT’s main weapon. Possibly their only one, but critical in order to reach the disengaged. The printed MSM is privately owned, so there is little we can do to prevent their propaganda. However, the BBC is not only the world’s largest broadcasting organisation, it is also publicly owned. Is there no way the SG can step in here, to prevent bias reporting and the dissemination of downright lies? Is there no way the SG can censure the BBC, for the very obvious misuse of public funds? As I have said before, the next two years threatens to undermine the Scottish psyche if we do not get A GRIP OF THE SITUATION NOW.
      @ Vronsky
      I read Diceman when I was a student. Young and reckless, I decided to give it a go. The next few month were probably the most liberating yet damaging period of my early adulthood. Definitely not a decision making process I would recommend to undecided voters. I mean, what if the coin lands on its side? Double-plus confusion. 🙂

    66. @ Cameron B says:
      ” I mean, what if the coin lands on its side?” Or falls down a drain!

    67. Ray says:

      Thanks to all those who have taken the time to read. I’m glad it can in some way give a different perspective for those who have been long-time Yes men (and women).

      I agree very much with what R Louis and Braco said, in that a softly-softly approach is a good one – in most cases that’s all that is needed. Gently getting the issue into a conversation, making people think and moving on works a lot better than getting into a runaway drunken discussion in the pub. For me, anyway.

      Vronsky, I think you’ve nailed my thoughts – from around the time of my last article I’ve probably known which way I was going to head, I just needed a few final pushes and a couple more bits of information. And as this was happening, the No side were doing everything in their power to push me away.

      K Mackay, a party sounds wonderful 😛 

      I think I may be spurred on to update my blog site a lot more now. In the meantime you can get me on Twitter by clicking my name.

    68. Macart says:

      Well Ray, now that you’ve made up your mind, get a hold of one other person and get to work. 🙂

    69. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Doonfooter –
      Had precisely the same experience with an elderly relative earlier today. Asked her if she’s heard anyone in the Guild, or elsewhere, discussing the referendum? Nope. It’s not been mentioned once.  
      Utterly depressing. If such a huge swathe of the population are accurately represented by these groups, we need to find a way of targetting them, waking them up.
      No point pussyfooting about – they’ve got one foot in the grave, and if anything, should be considering their legacy. Do they really want their weans and grandweans etc to carry on like this? Perhaps they feel they’ve ‘never had it so good’ on a purely personal level, but whatever benefits they’re enjoying from the post-war welfare programmes are being dismantled before our eyes – they must be able to see that, and choose not to acknowledge it. 
      It’s infuriating – I know that whatever efforts I make are, in effect, cancelled out by someone I love dearly, in my own family, who won’t even be here in twenty years’ time to witness the vengeance that will be wreaked upon us if we vote ‘No’.
      Whenever I’m on an SSP street stall and some eighty or ninety-year old woman gives me that all-knowing smile and patronisingly quips that ‘it won’t make any difference son’, I want to summon the ghost of Pankhurst to talk some sense into her.
      Don’t frighten the horses?
      This campaign should be more concerned with the more mundane matter of waking-up the old dears – they alone could swing it for us.
      Make no mistake about it folks – if we don’t take this chance? We’ll be bent over, pummelled big-time for decades, and have no-one to blame but ourselves. 
      (Perhaps I’ve managed to be ageist and sexist simultaneously, but I suspect many have made similar observations, can identify precisely what I’m on about, and know it’s a real problem.) 

    70. Cameron B says:

      @ cynicalHighlander
      Good point, and thanks for not pointing to my not so subtle transformation of dice to coins. 🙂

    71. Braco says:

      Cameron B,
      It would be great to see the BBC forced in some way to obey their own charter but I really can’t see it happening can you? As such, it’s much better and productive to concentrate on the levers we can pull and to be honest, pulling incredibly effectively for the last couple of Scottish electorate based elections. I honestly believe we have more than the weaponry to win this campaign. Unfortunately, by it’s very nature, it goes unrecognised by the msm and polling companies. Take 2011 as an example. Can you tell me another country with a mature democracy where a landslide of the nature that occurred could appear as such an overwhelming surprise and shock to the political class, it’s commentariat and especially the voting public. I remember the 97 referendum and was so worried about the result (and the apparent lack of interest reported in the media) that I visited local polling stations to re assure myself. Look at the results then! No, generally I feel confident, as long as we keep the head and put the work in as I am sure we will.

    72. You’ve just graduated and you’re married already? Reminds me of that song by the Specials ‘Too much too young’
      Anyway good luck with the job hunting, hopefully there will be no more tories soon and people can have a better time trying to find a job.
      Either way capitalism can’t offer real solutions to the problems of today.

    73. Oh in case that wasn’t clear, despite a nation state not being able to offer real solutions to our problems I do support the Scottish people being fully independent if that is what they want. At least then they will have some democracy.

    74. Cameron B says:

      @ Braco
      “No, generally I feel confident, as long as we keep the head and put the work in as I am sure we will.”
      I hope you are correct. Unfortunately I do not get out as much as I would like to, so I am a little disengaged myself. In a different way though. There has to be some way of stopping the BBC, though I do not see how we can.

    75. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Cameron –
      The way to ‘stop the BBC’ is to support those staff who’re observing a work-to-rule, get your good self to the ‘Illuminate the Debate’ rally in Glasgow on Feb 23rd, and let them have both-barrells. They won’t listen, obviously, but we’ll get the attention of ordinary punters one way or another, and they’ll ask questions, some will do their own homework, and when we assemble again, and again, and again, there will be more of us every time.
      We have had massive protests in this country – Feb 15 will be the 10th anniversary of the single biggest turnout of Scots, ever, when we told Tony Blair to GTF, at the Armadillo in Glasgow. No-one in MSM helped to publicise or encourage that response. You can bet your life they won’t dare mention the upcoming rally – when it isn’t ‘reported’ on BBC that night, will you or anyone else be thinking ‘Oh well, it couldn’t have amounted to much after all.’?
      The only way you’ll know -for sure- what kind of turnout there was, is if you’re there. 

    76. Ray says:

      ACA The Underground: I didn’t go to university until I was 25, and got married at 28. I guess it’s not obvious from the article! Just didn’t really want to advertise the big 3-0 coming up… :/

    77. Cameron B says:

      @ ianbrotherhood
      You have probably already posted details regarding where and when, but could I ask you to post them again?

    78. Keef says:

      Don’t know if anyone has said it yet, but I’d like to give the Rev. Stu a wee mention.

      It must be  pretty heart warming for him to see results like Ray’s caused in part by all his hard work and endless energy on this website.

      Ive had a go at him in the past, but on this occasion I take my hat off to him. 

      Well done Stu. You’re entitled to feel your hard work is paying off.

      Will be making a donation shortly.

    79. ianbrotherhood says:

      Already posted this link, but it now has a lot more comments, some of which may be from regulars here:

    80. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Vronsky, 7.27pm.
      Never saw that before. Stirring stuff. Here’s hoping no Scottish writers, artists, musicians ever have to deal with fresh subject-matter of similar origin. 

    81. BillyBigbaws says:

      @Cameron B,

      “Incidentally, I do not like the term low-information voters. I have made this point before, but would you expect anyone to vote for you after you have described them as being thick and clueless?”

      That’s a fair point Cameron, I wouldn’t normally use the term myself, since I’m not a political strategist for a party. But it’s sadly true that even intelligent folk (like my brother) are not following the debate on independence much at all, and are completely unaware of most of the issues that we obsess about. On the other hand, they are also unaware of a lot of the scare stories the media have been putting out, so maybe it’s all for the best. They will get very interested as the vote draws nearer, I think, and we must be ready to answer their questions.

      Braco’s post also cheered me up a bit, and put a small dent in my cynicism.

    82. ianbrotherhood says:

      @cynicalHighlander –
      Top-drawer stuff. Cheers. By happy coincidence, I happen to look a lot like the guy holding the placard…must be a kismet thing.

    83. macdoc says:

      Nice article.

      I must say it would be daft to target the don’t knows and not bother with the No’s. If polls are to be believed then almost 50% are of the NO persuasion just now and even if we convinced all the don’t knows then all it would do is make it a neck and neck battle. Far too close for comfort.

      At least 70% of the No’s are there by default and would vote yes if they became aware of the facts. Remember all it takes is momentum for people to question there views, they take comfort in being in the majority. As soon as that pattern changes then people will by in large question there opinions even more. 

      This is how a typical conversation should go “I thinks its a ridiculous idea” and a reply of “I think its a great idea, I will be voting yes and would be interested in to why you think its ridiculous”. “well …. subsidised…. Alex Salmond is a fat nazi…….. borders…..etc…” and reply with “well you are wrong because of a b and c……… these are the facts…………”  “Well to be honest I don’t know much about it, not really into politics, need to look into more”. “Even if you don’t believe me please go online and read the articles and the comments of what the yes campaign are saying and at least be skeptical of the medias motives. This is far too important an issue” There goes a No to either a Yes or Someone who at least may start to doubt there convictions.

      If all we do is convert the Don’t knows we will probably still lose or it will be incredibly close. We need to win and win convincingly. We have it hard because the media is against us. Use our weapons to our advantage, debating it amongst ourselves will only be to our benefit because we have the much better arguments.  Only that 10% of real British nationalists will fail to be convinced and maybe a few others whose ingraining is just too deep. The people that will win this is not Alex Salmond or Blair Jenkins its Us and only us because the media aren’t telling the true story and the facts. 

      Be confrontational but don’t be aggressive, be assertive not passive. Don’t bore people to death but pick the correct time and place. Help in anyway you can. Convince your wife, children, husband, friends, work colleagues. 

    84. Braco says:

      BillyBBs, I and most people that know me would consider me a terrible cynic so I am well chuffed to have been responsible for denting someone else’s. I will of course claim it is because mine is of a harder compound and bigger (weewinkything!) It’s really only thinking about my experience of Scot’s politics. Westminster voting patterns still have me pulling my hair out and giving the walls a talking! The older vote needs to be given serious attention. Old folks homes, sheltered housing and social clubs etc. are pretty easy to focus on and I am sure that the right advocates with the right version of Ianbrotherhood’s thoughts on the subject will certainly have the desired effect among many. I don’t see the electorate for the referendum quite so easily subdivided as for general elections though. Mondeo man etc. is after all as interested in the long term success of his country as any other contrived demographic and with the type of tailored campaign embarked upon by the YES campaign able to harness very different visions and hopes for the democratically decided future of Scotland, dispirit support is not easily converted to divided support in this YES/NO question. Especially by a supposedly politically diametrically opposed NO campaign! Stay cool, bag your undecided voter and then take aim at the easiest looking no voter. Two ish years and we’re home and hosed whatever the BBC, MSM or opinion forming ‘pollsters’ say.  

    85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Incidentally, I do not like the term low-information voters. I have made this point before, but would you expect anyone to vote for you after you have described them as being thick and clueless?”

      No. That’s precisely why the phrase “thick and clueless” was replaced with “low-information voter”. But here’s a free campaigning tip: don’t open with “Hi! You’re a low-information voter, aren’t you?”

    86. Cameron B says:

      @ Rev. Stuart
      It still means the same thing though and lacks even the slightest hint of respect or empathy.

    87. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It still means the same thing though and lacks even the slightest hint of respect or empathy.”

      Yes, that is what it means. Some people are thick, or genuinely don’t care, or both. Live with it, because it’s a lot easier to deal with a situation by recognising what it is than by trying to fool yourself.

    88. Cameron B says:

      @ Rev. Stuart
      I do not want to turn this in to an argument, but that is one of your most arrogant comments to date, IMO. How do you hope to engage the “disengaged”, with that sort of attitude?

    89. Bill C says:

      An excellent, thoughtful, article Ray, which has stimulated some cracking comment, your contribution is most welcome. However I think BillyBigbaws wins my comment of the day with “They will get very interested as the vote draws nearer, I think, and we must be ready to answer their questions.” Billy, in reference to those not yet engaged in the debate, for me, hits the nail on the head.  There are tens of thousands of YES voters out there who, at the moment, couldn’t give a toss. However, as the debate warms up they will take sides and given the right, truthful information on the positives of independence, will vote YES. We must be prepared to answer the questions of the ‘don’t knows’ and even the ‘no’s’, as I am convinced that folk who at the moment are saying no, will eventually say YES!  

    90. ianbrotherhood says:

      @cynicalHighlander –
      Top-drawer stuff. Cheers. By happy coincidence, I happen to look a lot like the guy holding the placard…must be a kismet thing.
      I tried to post a message of support for Tris’s first comment on the thread below the illustrations, but kept getting knocked-back, something about my ‘URL containing illegal characters’…don’t know what that’s all about.
      Splendid stuff though – that ‘Dean’ character seems to be a bit of a belter…enjoyed seeing you and Tris toying with him. 

    91. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “How do you hope to engage the “disengaged”, with that sort of attitude?”

      I don’t, because I’m not a fucking idiot. You don’t go up to people and say “Hello, you’re thick”. You try to turn low-information voters into high-information voters, by giving them information. Jesus, am I really having to explain this? What next? “Don’t kick people in the bollocks when giving them leaflets”?

    92. Braco says:

      Rev, that’s now. Most probably not in a year and a half when it counts. Democracy works for that very reason, it’s not decided by the politico, professional or otherwise, but by the folk that get on with the everyday as best they can between votes and take their experience from between the times of being asked, engage in the political debate in front of them and then decide. It’s the best we’ve got and the best we can do is make the info they need easily available and try and mitigate the lies and bullshit the establishment are peddling. Best not to insult them until after the count when the evidence is in. (smily)

    93. Cameron B says:

      Rev. Stuart
      So am I a “fucking idiot” then?

    94. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It’s the best we’ve got and the best we can do is make the info they need easily available and try and mitigate the lies and bullshit the establishment are peddling.”

      Yes. Hello! Welcome to my website!

    95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So am I a “fucking idiot” then?”

      I’ve never met you, I have no idea. But you’re awfully hard work sometimes, so please try not to be stupid by wilfully misunderstanding legitimate and useful terms. Stupidity makes me grumpy and I don’t like being grumpy.

    96. Christian Wright says:

      Worth explaining that “low-information voter” is not a euphemism for “thick as two short planks”.  Rather it means what it appears to mean. 
      I prefer to use another characterization that is less likely to be misinterpreted as pejorative, and that is: “Unengaged”.  However, one can be unengaged and still be informed, so I guess we’re properly stuck with L.I.V.

      Those voters simply choose not to be well informed of the issues that are the focus of our interest. They many be well informed with respect to other issues that matter to them. 

      I’ve covered this issue a number of times, and in a very recent thread, in much greater detail than here.

      I am repeating the points so that those who did not read that argument or have forgotten it, have another opportunity to consider it.

      That is to say, I’m doing a rinse and repeat so that I might reach the low-information reader herein, who has not read or has read and forgotten the point made in a previous posts.

      Now clearly, I do not believe anyone here is a thick as two short planks, but you are from my perspective wrt this issue, suffering a deficit of information that I am trying to correct by repeating the the theme again and again.

    97. Cameron B says:

      @ Rev. Stuart
      I do not accept that the term is either useful or legitimate, but instead would rank it along with terms such a the “underclass”. I suppose it all comes down to “perception” and life experience. Perhaps I am just a little sensitive due to the ongoing attack on welfare rights.
      Sorry to be such hard work, I honestly do not mean it intentionally. I think it is just a gift. No hard feelings. 🙂

    98. Braco says:

      Rev Stu, your entry into this thread seems to be counterproductive. You’re intervention seems to be sowing rancid seeds of discontent, over far from stony ground. Maybe your time tonight would be better spent over on the Better Together forum.

    99. Braco says:

      Pals for life min!(weewinkything)

    100. Cameron B says:

      @ Braco
      weewinkything = : + )
      weesadthing = : + (
      And any other combination.

    101. jon abroad says:

      Re low-information voter,
      The term sounds crass, principally because it reeks of nerdy American politico-speak. Quoting Wiki: “Linguist George Lakoff has written that the term is a pejorative mainly used by American liberals to refer to people who vote conservative against their own interests”
      Which more or less proves it..
      What about “uninformed voter” instead, which is perhaps what Christian Wright has just come close to proposing?

    102. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “What about “uninformed voter” instead, which is perhaps what Christian Wright has just come close to proposing?”

      I think that sounds much worse, personally.

    103. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Also: I am WAY too tired tonight to understand anything clever.

    104. jon abroad says:

      Yeah well ok.
      It’s just that I can’t stand nerdy American politico-speak.

    105. Erchie says:

      Sometimes you have to know when you are wasting your time talking to someone

      Perhaps their mind is made up and nothing will shift, or their mind is made up and they are just wasting your time so you don’t talk to someone who might be persuaded, or they don’t have a fair picture of what is going on, but find your attempts to put another point of view undesirable

      You meet these folk. You put your case, if it’s stony ground, pleasantly disengage then move on

      Fact of life

    106. Cameron B says:

      @ Rev. Stuart
      Take a break then, we can’t have you burning yourself out with nearly two years still to go. I do not always agree what is being said here, but this site is a breath of fresh air. You do not want to push yourself too hard. Believe me, I did and the results are not pleasant at all.

    107. Braco says:

      Cameron B,
      sorry it’s just that I am a ‘low information’ (weewinkything) and (weewinkysadthing) as well as every other low information combination. Doesn’t make me a bad person though.

    108. jon abroad says:

      Well said Erchie.
      Goes for voters, goes for posters on blogs too.

    109. Cameron B says:

      @ Braco
      I think I see where you are coming from. (weepuzzleddthing)

    110. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @ Rev Stu 
      @ Cameron B

      As the late, not nearly great, Michael Winner would say, ‘Calm Down, dears.’

      Here’s a thing. My windae cleaner stopped me the other day and asked what I had in store for the weekend. 
      ‘I’ve a pile of leaflets to deliver,’ I said.
      ‘Leaflets for what?’
      I pointed at the ‘Yes’ badge on my lapel.
      ‘Yes what?’
      ‘Yes to independence … you know, the referendum … 2014 …?’
      A bell tolled somewhere in the middle distance, a brush of wind lifted some litter and blew it here and there, a dog barked … and still we stood and looked at each other in mutual incomprehension.
      This guy is my idea of a ‘low information voter’. OK, I can’t make great claims for his intellect – he’s a windae cleaner – but I don’t think his lack of engagement in the debate is because he didn’t get any O grades. It’s because, like an entire generation of people in Britain (yes, not just Scotland), he is conditioned to be anti-politics. Politicians are all at it, issues are all dull, constitutions are how healthy you are etc etc.
      It brings us back to our old friends in the MSM. Let’s not just concentrate on the immediate sins of misdirection and bias – remember the tabloid press and the broadcast media have been relentlessly and quite deliberately dumming down the electorate for decades.
      As Christian Wright says, the ‘low information voter’ ain’t necessarily thick. He or she is, as it says on the tin, lacking in information.
      Many contributors today have given examples of this – you give them the information and, hey – suddenly they get it.
      So let’s all stop bitching at each other and get out there and spread the word!
      I’ve seen the light!
      Gies a drink!
      Oh, I seem to have had enough … 

    111. Braco says:

      Freddiethreepwood and Cameron B,
      (weegooglyeyeddoublesmilythings) to the both of yous.

    112. Bill C says:

      I think it’s fair to say that a lot of folk are just not interested in politics and that is their right. Personally I don’t understand why folk are not interested in who governs them, who spends their money and who makes the big decisions. However, above all, I understand that it their right not to be interested.  In 1933 in Nazi Germany, folk lost the right not to be interested in politics, they were told it was their national duty to be interested in the ‘work’ of the Nazi Party.  I have been a nationalist all of my adult life, but screw the idea that I would ever demand or even tell folk that they have to interested ortherwise I might regard them as a “low information voter”. My struggle is for freedom, not suppression of thought.

    113. Cameron B says:

      Call me what you like, but I think something like “disengaged” or “uninterested”, is far more palatable. As other posters have commented, the task in front of us is one of spreading the word and getting the information to those who need it most.
      I loved the suggestion of targeting OAP groups. Like my parents, these are the traditional unionist who have grown up without an alternative vision of what might be possible. Over the last decade or so, both of them came around to the independence argument. I do not know how much of this was down to me or a competent SG, but it just shows what is possible.

    114. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “but screw the idea that I would ever demand or even tell folk that they have to interested ortherwise I might regard them as a “low information voter””

      READERS! I’m going to say this once more and then I’m going to get very irritable indeed with anyone who keeps grasping the stupid end of the stick:


      They exist. This is a fact. It may or not be their fault – some people are working three jobs to keep a roof over their family’s head and don’t have time to sleep, let alone read up on politics – but they’re out there and as such we need something to call them, so there’s nothing wrong with using an accurate and neutral term. But you don’t – for fuck’s fucking sake of COURSE you don’t – call them that to their face. You devote yourself to getting information to them, by whatever means possible, be it in conversation or leafleting or directing them to websites that provide the info. Because informed voters are Yes voters.

    115. Keef says:

      Boing! And zebedee said” time for bed” 🙂

    116. Christian Wright says:

      “What about “uninformed voter” instead, which is perhaps what Christian Wright has just come close to proposing?”

      No. I said I like “unengaged voter” but that one can be unengaged yet still be informed, so the term did not pass the test for accuracy whereas LIV does. 

      While “uninformed” is an accurate and an easily understood description, I am not now, nor have I ever, come close to advocating we name that demographic, the “uninformed”, since the term may easily be perceived as a slight.


    117. Bill C says:


      Sorry Rev, but as I said earlier, I have been a nationalist all of my adult life, well over forty years. I didn’t deliver the thousands of leaflets, I didn’t attend the countless meetings and I sure as hell didn’t suffer attacks from Orange fascist bigots to suddenly and silently accept the term”low information voter”.  It is a repugnant term and has no place in the vision of the  Scotland I and thousands of others have spent thousands of hours working towards. People have the right not to be interested. A “low information voter” smacks of a world I want no part of. Silence me if you will.

    118. Christian Wright says:

      Alright, here’s how we sort it . . .

      From now on we call them “INFORMATION DEPRIVED” voters (© Christian Wright 2013) 

    119. Cameron B says:

      I’m sorry if I caused all this disruption. It is difficult to discuss social grouping, especially if you are not one of “them”. All I was trying to convey is that it is only too easy to insult those who you aim to engage. This blog does not exist in a vacuum.

    120. Indion says:

      Whether it’s your own, or someone else’s related examined experience, or a pithy phrase backed by rational argument in favour of Yes – for starters – it’s only such authentic reality that can be relied on to build from a sound third to the broader support of carrying the day into our future as an independent country again.

      Both the long and the short of it serve to focus on honing key issues into readily perceived and persuaded form to nail down the negative of No and bring home the positive of Yes.

      Those not involved are part of the problem. Being involved and becoming involved is part of the solution. It’s an iterative and reinforcing part of owning the process and thus the outcome.

      Bringing home the process is all but complete (bar an unimaginable fcuk-up by this month’s Privy Council meeting not giving royal assent to the S30 order).

      In due course due democratic process will inform and transform into material substance to be tested for dope, starting with the Manifesto for the UK’s series of dossiers (yes, I’m thinking dodgy too) and culminating in what will be by then a thoroughly bench tested Prospectus for Independence this autumn.

      Meanwhile the world moves on. Progress or not on banking and fiscal regulation and supervision in the EU – in conjunction with trade agreements on ‘financials’ – and the result of the autumn German ‘general’ election – especiaaly if Merkel wins – are of note to look out for, along with any sure signs of economic recovery in Europe having the desired knock-on effect in the UK, as this would give Mr C major and Mr C minor the opportunity to fall-out and go for a UK general election a year earlier in May 2014.

      On that note of caution about peaking too early, veilen dank Ray for your contribution and the stimulating discussion here.

      And as ever to Rev Stu too for this public space to do so.    

    121. Bill C says:

       @Christian Wright – I appreciate what you are saying and trying to achieve. I have no wish to cause disagreement and discord in the ranks of those who argue for Scottish self determination. However, few in Scotland will be “Information deprived” in this debate.  No matter how much information is out there, some folk will ignore every leaflet, every broadcast and every approach from an activist on the street. It saddens me immensely, but that is the way it is.  However that is their choice and as long as I have a breath, I will defend their right to make that choice.  I want no part of a Scotland that describes people as “low information voters”. If it looks like fascism and it sounds like fascism, then it is fascism!

    122. Christian Wright says:

      Alright Bill. so what do you call them when you want to refer to them?

      There is no need for you to defend their right to make that choice, no one is threatening them for making that choice or trying to deprive them of it.

      “I want no part of a Scotland that describes people as “low information voters”. If it looks like fascism and it sounds like fascism, then it is fascism!”

      Yes Bill, we’re closet fascist bent on domination of the wee wummin in Greggs, who despite water boarding is obstinately intent on voting NO. Today Partick tomorrow der Welt! Now, where did I put that copy of the Horst Wessel Lied . . 

    123. JR Tomlin says:

      There are a lot of people who are (for the moment) undecided. There are a lot of people who are (for the moment) planning to vote No. It really is important to listen to their reasons with respect. They do, after all, have reasons even if they aren’t reasons that most people here agree with. Even if they don’t change their minds (and many will) everyone in Scotland the day after the referendum will still be Scots and will have to live with each other.

      The shame is that I honestly don’t see most of the leaders (not the regular people) on the No side seeing and recognizing this. I hope the leaders on the Yes side are doing better because they need to. I do think that the truly nasty attacks on Alex Salmond and on Scotland are pushing more people toward being undecided, but surely that the leaders on the No side are acting like a nasty piece of work isn’t why most Yes voters want to win.

    124. David Gibson says:

      Having lived 5 years in London ‘doing UK & Europe,’ 7 years in HK ‘doing Asia-Pacific,’ 1 year in Indonesia and 15 years here in Malaysia: that’s 23 years in countries that were formerly run by someone else and which have become spectacular successes, I recall the protectionist mentality of London and the more-so protectionist ‘bunker’ mentality of Glasgow and most of the rest of Scotland -where the predominant psyche was one of grabbing and protecting a slice of an ever-shrinking pie: an unenviable sociopolitical ‘island mentality,’ at best. And one which tempers the natural instinct to growth and renewal. 

      I think I’ve moved from devo-maxx (note: not a fave of pols, hence not offered) to ‘why the hell not?’ It’s hard to overthrow historical pessimism, vested interests and psychic downtrodden-ness but in fact it’s easy to make a pie or grow a country, just needs the political will – and the understanding of the ordinary person in the street that the world isn’t a ‘closed shop.’ All the people I’ve met out here in the post-colonial world regard it as a total no-brainer lol, and wonder why Scots continue to brainwash themselves into thinking that they’ve got something to lose: fear is the mind-killer. Time for a new adventure! 

    125. David Gibson says:

      [ The undecided must be brought to an understanding that the negativity is an outcome of the insecurity of dependence, and that positivity comes with independence (or even inter-dependance): your country is what you make of it ! ]

    126. deewal says:

       If it looks like fascism and it sounds like fascism, then it is fascism!

      That’s what my ex wife say’s about the SNP. Can’t get her to understand that it’s not a Referendum for the SNP but for Independence. 

    127. Vronsky says:


      Your ex sounds like a zero information voter. 

      My current tactic is to say nothing in support of independence when the topic arises.  If someone announces an intention to vote no, I act puzzled and ask why they propose such an odd arrangement.  Would the French wish to be ruled by the Germans?  The Finns by the Dutch? The Poles by the Australians?  The Scots by the English?  What a curious idea – tell me more.  We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be put on the back foot by people asking for justiification for independence: it’s refusing independence that is queer and needs justification.

    128. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      ” I want no part of a Scotland that describes people as “low information voters”. If it looks like fascism and it sounds like fascism, then it is fascism!”

      Bill, it’s only half-past eight on Monday morning but you’ve already locked in this week’s “Most Absurdly Inappropriate Use Of The Word ‘Fascism'” Prize. It is NOT a “repugnant term”. It’s a totally accurate, dispassionate factual phrase invented specifically in order to have a way of describing the politically ignorant in a non-judgemental way.

      (“Ignorant” is not in fact a judgemental term either, but years of misuse have led it to be interpreted as such, hence the need for something else. I’m ignorant of how fridges actually work, but still manage to use one every day and function in society.)

    129. Albalha says:

      It’s because, like an entire generation of people in Britain (yes, not just Scotland), he is conditioned to be anti-politics. Politicians are all at it, issues are all dull, constitutions are how healthy you are etc etc. 

      Think S Wolin’s theory of Inverted totalitarianism gets to the heart of the problem, he’s talking about the US but it applies here too ….. his description of  the ‘managed democracy’

      “a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control. Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state through the continuous employment of public relations techniques”

      I think more people will engage, can be encouraged to engage ahead of the vote, those, who thus far have been disinterested.  


    130. Cameron B says:

      @ Rev. Stuart

      I really do not want to keep this going and I am sure you have better things to be getting on with, but can I referrer you to jon abroad’s post at 12.12 am. IMO, it is only your opinion that the term is useful and acceptable. Given the amount of disagreement that erupted last night, I thought that it would have been pretty obvious to all onlookers, just how divisive its use can be.

    131. Cameron B says:

      @ Albalha
      I wish more supposedly intelligent people were aware of the false left-right political paradigm I think you are referring to.

    132. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “My current tactic is to say nothing in support of independence when the topic arises.  If someone announces an intention to vote no, I act puzzled and ask why they propose such an odd arrangement.  Would the French wish to be ruled by the Germans?  The Finns by the Dutch? The Poles by the Australians?  The Scots by the English?  What a curious idea – tell me more.”

      Yes. This is a hugely powerful line and should be made more of. We’ve deployed it here a few times, but we ought to be really hammering home in conversations with people just how weird our set-up is compared to just about any self-styled “nation” on the face of the planet.

    133. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      ” IMO, it is only your opinion that the term is useful and acceptable.”

      Your objections are noted.

    134. Cameron B says:

      Thank you.

    135. Albalha says:


      I know what you mean, but i do think people are beginning to see it, that organised politics is so much spin and not much substance.

      It’s only recently I came across Wolin, when he’s analying what has replaced the highly organised political involvement in totalitarianism this is the inverse we face today …….

      inverted totalitarianism aims for the mass of the population to be in a persistent state of political apathy        

    136. Cameron B says:

      @ Albalha
      Sounds like you are describing the EU to me. Totalitarianism is such an intimidating word, but it does not necessarily require a police state to exist. The MSM is a far more subtle tool in keeping the population under control, yet productive.

    137. Albalha says:

      Oh yes media compliance is very much part of the model Wolin describes, similar to Chomsky, they are a similar age.

      Anyway check out his thoughts if you fancy, it just struck me it fitted with the debate about voters not having information or choosing not to have information.   

    138. ianbrotherhood says:

      Looks like we’ve got our own wee Plebgate going here…
      Whether we like it or not, the brains behind the campaigns know how vital the votes of The Great Unwashed are, and pitch their material accordingly – that’s why Lamont gets up and spouts drivel at FMQs. It’s outrageous and offensive, but if even some of it pushes the right buttons amongst the ‘average’ man or woman, job done.
      Yes, we’re a bit anorakish about this stuff, can deconstruct propaganda, follow arguments which last for days etc, but most folk don’t have the time or inclination, and no amount of evangelising from us is going to impress them. Doesn’t matter how we refer to these people -LIVs, wee Jimmy and Jeannie, whatever – we know who we mean and we’d best get serious about reaching them. It’s a sad fact that, even on the day, some will go into the booths with only the vaguest idea of what’s happening, and will vote Yes if they think there’ll be a great party the next day, or No if all the papers are leading with photoshopped images of AS in a fictional sex-scandal.

    139. Cameron B says:

      @ Albalha
      I’ve read a fair bit of Chomsky, but thanks for bringing Wolin to my attention. I live close to a “radical” bookshop, so I know what I’ll be reading next.

    140. Braco says:

      Rev Stu,
      If your not happy to use the term to ‘their’ face, then are you not already admitting to yourself that the term, at the very least, will be ‘misconstrued’ as pejorative. My problem with the term is simply that it encourages a them and us mindset and culture, something especially a ‘low information person’ can smell a mile off as they encounter such arrogance from authority as a norm . As I say, I am more concerned at the moment about the flavour of our missionaries being sent out than the psephological labels we use to describe the people they are likely to encounter and hope to influence.

    141. creag an tuirc says:

      Unenlightened voters is the term I like to use.

    142. Albalha says:


      Here’s a link to another academic in the US talking about Wolin, as you’d expect rather ponderous, get’s going 3 and a half minutes in   

    143. Indion says:

      creag an tuirc

      Yes, as in eg: grow-up > lighten-up > wise-up, like giving it a break Hamish (see next post).

    144. Bob Howie says:

      I prefer to talk to Don’t Knows over Unionists because they are willing to listen and converse not just shout they hate “Wee Eck” and never talk to you again.
      If you think we should have more power then Independence is the only way to achieve that because if we dont and we get more powers, you have to remember they also have the power to take them away again.
      Independence ensures that what you vote for you get, not as it has been since 1945, we voted in a majority government but were only governed by them for less than 40% of the time, so if you want equality then YES in 2014 is the only way.

    145. BillyBigbaws says:

      Rev Stu said: “Don’t kick people in the bollocks when giving them leaflets”

      Sound advice for any campaign, I reckon, though it can be very tempting at times. I’m sure every canvasser/leafletter has had a bit of abuse on the doorstep at some point, or just a reaction of stupefied incomprehension in the street. I know I have, and I’ve not been out that often.

      Hope the Yes campaign gives folk a wee bit of training on how to deal with that kind of thing. Admittedly, folk who stand about asking passersby to sample new soft drinks probably get the same reaction on occasion. And Tory canvassers.

      “Low-info” is short and to the point, everyone knows what it means, but that’s probably why it’s best not to use it, all things considered. Everyone knew what the current UK government meant when they resumed the use of the term “criminal classes”. Doesn’t make it worthwhile or useful.

      We should remember there are disengaged voters on both sides too. An example I would give of a “disengaged” Yes voter was a guy I used to know, a Celtic man, who would’ve voted Yes (back in the day) just to keep Rangers out of the EPL. He probably won’t bother voting now. Mindboggling, but there’s a lot of it about.

    146. Bill C says:

      @RevStu – “Bill, it’s only half-past eight on Monday morning but you’ve already locked in this week’s “Most Absurdly Inappropriate Use Of The Word ‘Fascism’” Prize. It is NOT a “repugnant term”. It’s a totally accurate, dispassionate factual phrase invented specifically in order to have a way of describing the politically ignorant in a non-judgemental way.”

      Think the above is a bit of a cheap shot and I ‘ll tell you why.

      I taught young people with Additional Support Needs for twenty five years and encountered the “low” word many times over the years. It cropped up in conversation with friends,family, colleagues, parents,guys in the pub and other professionals. It was often used in the most innocent of ways.  It usually went along the following lines: “Oh you teach those kids with a “low” IQ, “low” intelligence, “low” self-esteem, “low” self respect, “low” numeracy skills, “low” literacy skills, “low” social skills” etc,etc. Of course what really got to me was when the most “ignorant” in society described my pupils as “lowlife”, that was when it got real ugly. That is my experience of the word “low” when it is used in terminology to describe people who have difficulties in absorbing and retaining information. 

      In these circumstances the word “low” implies below average or below the norm and that to me is “repugnant”.  The reason I mentioned fascism is by now, I hope, obvious. The Nazis thought people with learning difficulties were “low” and they thought that the appropriate way to deal with such folk was to kill them.  Once society starts to use terms like “low” in relation to the operating levels of human beings, then it is on the slippery slope to fascism. History is our witness to that.

      I hope this explains my position.   

    147. Braco says:

      Bill C,
      more than fully explained…. but you’re not in company that need’s it explained. That’s the shite folk find, but it’s not being peddled here in any way. This current mess of an opinion can be heard as razor sharp, when sharpened on the stone of racism (or maybe even any other form of ism including nationalism, see Bella). If you are worried, place your worries where they exist and link arms with those that WILL stand. I have stood and will stand again, but it does not honestly seem so necessary since the last time I had to (thank god). That’s exactly why Scotland has a moment of relative ‘all jock thamson’s bairns’ shite to possibly make it work in reality for once! I’m sick of fighting for the sake of it, eventually changing society if we are lucky. I want to fight, like everyone else seems to have been doing, to break jaws and backs and then to step over the unreasonable, violent opposition to try and form an inclusive democratic and humanistic society. That is without their immaculate and instant undamaged return! Then, we could build International relations to be encouraged and encourage others to do similar. We are on you’re side, be sure to be on ours my friend. X 

    148. Bill C says:

      @Braco – Thanks Braco, I agree 100%, your sentiments are much appreciated.

    149. Braco says:

      Dear Bill C,
      there’s only one thing better than a righteous fight and that’s a righteous victory! Come in, celebrate and rejuvenate ready for the next, related but un translatable, titanic collision. Victory is inevitable ….eventually! (weewinkything (… and you tell the kids that today and they just won’t believe you!..) 

    150. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Of course what really got to me was when the most “ignorant” in society described my pupils as “lowlife”, that was when it got real ugly. “

      Yes, obviously that’s a pejorative term. The word “low” on its own, however is not, unless you’re saying that “Take The High Road” was fascist propaganda and “low-fat cheese” should be banned. When my car shows the “FUEL LOW” light, I don’t complain that it’s being victimised by the dashboard, I go and put more petrol in it.

    151. molly says:

      How about just the ‘potentials’ ? It kind of covers all of us anoraks or not ? 

    152. Carlos Turiano says:

      Hola Amigo, We support you from Puerto Rico. Our recent election didn’t go to plan, but hopefully in the future we can be Independent brothers.

    153. Bill C says:

      @Rev – Rev you miss my entire point.  To use the word “low” in relation to what someone might be interested in, or able to learn and retain or what society thinks they should have knowledge of,  is in my book unacceptable. I can only think of one example where the use of the word “low” in relation to a human being is acceptable i.e. ‘he/she is at a low ebb’. I am afraid the examples you quote are hardly comparable with your original and to my mind, offensive comment i.e “low information voter”.

    154. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “To use the word “low” in relation to what someone might be interested in, or able to learn and retain or what society thinks they should have knowledge of, is in my book unacceptable.”

      I have no idea why you insist on forcing your pejorative interpretation onto a perfectly neutral factual term which was EXPRESSLY DESIGNED to be neutral, factual and non-judgemental, and I don’t think repeating ourselves is getting us anywhere. We disagree. That’s fine. I’m out.

    155. Cameron B says:

      @ Bill C
      The Rev. has been referred to academic linguistic sources who defined the “low information” tag as a pejorative, somewhat similar to the “underclass” ( Despite this, the Rev. still appear happy to use it, regardless of its obvious divisiveness. The guy’s mind is made up, and no amount of reasoned argument looks likely to change it. You are not on your own here, and I would imagine that you have significant silent support. Let it go, as further discord is exactly what the unionists want. Anyway, no matter how much good work the Rev. does here on WOS, he does not represent the independence movement in its entirety.
      Keep fighting your corner and vote Yes in 2014.

    156. Bill C says:

      @Cameron B – Thanks, I am taking your advice.

      @Rev – Me too. We might not agree on this one, however, I still think your work is immensely important to our cause and for that, you have my sincere gratitude.

    157. Brilliant post! As a catalan (yes, a catalan, not a spaniard) I guess I stand where you stand right now. Although the road isn’t rosy at all for us (the spanish government has already said they won’t allow us to do a referendum… some of them even threatened us with the army), I relate to most of the things you wrote about. Most of the people doesn’t even know if they’d vote YES or NO, theyre just making their minds up… But, like in your case, the NO voters won’t listen. It’s as if they don’t care, they’re so focused in their own point of view that they seem to have forgotten that people can have diferent views on the same topic, and that that is actually quite ok!
      If you have to explain everybody where and what Scotland is, just imagine telling them about a place in Spain that speaks a different language and has totally different traditions… 😉
      PS: I’m a big Scotland fan and I try to come back every year, at least once

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