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Vote stupid

Posted on September 12, 2014 by

An extraordinary letter sent out to members by trade union USDAW this week:


It’s not extraordinary that the union should choose to take a No position. It’s perfectly entitled to do that, and to advise its members of its view. It’s the last paragraph that blows us away. Not just the ironic juxtaposition of “Don’t let others decide what is best for you” with a direct instruction as to which way to vote, but the suggestion that “if you don’t know – then you should vote NO”.

Call us old-fashioned, but our reaction to not knowing something important is to try to find out. USDAW could have said “If you don’t know, here are some sources of information from both sides that you might find helpful” and added a couple of links to, at the very least, the Scottish Government’s white paper and the UK government’s “Scotland Analysis” reports.

Instead, it tells its members to remain ignorant and just do what they’re told. We can’t be alone, surely, in finding that a truly tragic place for the proud and honourable trade union movement of these islands to have found itself in.

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  1. 12 09 14 17:11

    Vote stupid | FreeScotland

154 to “Vote stupid”

  1. Seasick Dave says:

    Just eat your cereal.

  2. Seasick Dave says:

    “The Campaigning Union”

    Aye, right.

  3. Staunch says:

    “… but please do not leave it to others to decide what is best for you.” and quickly followed up by “… if you don’t know – you should vote no.”

    John Hannett, General Secretary of USDAW Union, you sir are a hypocrite and a manipulator.

  4. Do they honestly think anyone is that stupid?

  5. Neil Mackenzie says:

    I suggest that if you don’t know – then you should eat your cereal.

  6. gerry parker says:

    They didn’t say if you were undecided, read the wee blue book


  7. Flooplepoop says:

    i don’t know what to think, i’ll just tick the first option then.

  8. Triangular Ears says:

    “The campaigning union” – campaigning for nothing to change so that our greasy pole climbers can get nice careers in the Labour party.

  9. FatCandy says:

    Terrifying stuff.

  10. Illy says:

    Oh look, it’s a UK-wide (and probably London-based) organisation encouraging people to vote no.

    In other news, the sky is blue.

  11. horacesaysyes says:

    This union, according to Wikipedia, has agreements with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, The Co-op and Tesco amongst others.

    So we’ve got both the management and the unions combining together to oppose Yes now.

  12. I keep hearing or reading this fantasy about “The best of both worlds” where is this other world they rant about? I am in one world and only know this one world I want my country SCOTLAND to be the best it can be and that NEEDS INDEPENDENCE.

  13. Nana Smith says:

    Aye listen to your imperial masters and vote No.

  14. MajorBloodnok says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t add, “and as we know you’ll vote no, we’ve already filled in and submitted your postal vote for you, so you don’t have to.”

  15. Joe says:
    The world media are noticing now, this article is WOS boiled down to a few paragraphs in a newspaper as far from uk media as possible to get , but they can see the lies and the bias from there.

  16. hetty says:

    I would hope that this will rile the members so much that they will say fk you and vote YES. Chilling stuff that this so called trade union are using such tactics to their own end, hope it backfires.

  17. fred blogger says:

    born in 1952, i know the difference between a tree and the shadow it casts.
    these contemporary orgs, are but a shadow of their former selves, now they’re merely CLUBS, that act to enable poverty.

  18. MajorBloodnok says:

    It shows you want a sorry state the Labour movement is in when it is automatically assumed that trades unionists will vote for whatever the bosses want.

  19. Macart says:

    A printed version of the stupidest most patronising ad ever.

    Amazing. 😮

  20. Flower of Scotland says:

    The NO,s are getting very bitter already and aggressive! I’m staying a way from Facebook now and RT just came out with a disgusting take on the big Debate last night with the kids! Of course Galloway has a spot with them. They are also now on my Black list!

    On a lighter note! My window cleaner just said that he love s my YES house!

    Another shocker, Nessie is going to relocate to Windermere if there is a YES vote! You got a feeling the world is against us ??

  21. Nana Smith says:

    On the day Farage takes a day trip north…

  22. Derek M says:

    i used to be big on unions but after Thatcher infiltrated them all with her cronies to weaken them and turn them into mere state puppets i have no respect for them especially for those who claim to lead them ,i bet this guy doesnt need to use foodbanks and has a nice little portfolio of property gained from union members fees,bloody shower of thieves sold out the working people for their own gain despicable ,tear up your union membership stop funding them!

  23. Iain says:


    Paul johnson ?@paul__johnson 2 mins

    Breaking Scots poll: NO 51% – YES 49%. ICM phone survey conducted Tues-Thurs. Union hanging by a thread

  24. Dan Huil says:

    OT sorry. Brand new ICM poll today. Yes 49& No51%

  25. Scott Mac says:

    I was a member of usdaw for a number of years, some good people worked for them, but they are toothless, as we can see from the poverty wages that shopworkers/delivery workers recieve. This directive stinks.

  26. @ fred blogger

    “I know the difference between a tree and the shadow it casts”

    I like that. It may appear in a song…

  27. thegooseking says:

    I’m probably not telling anyone here anything they didn’t already know, but “if you don’t know, then you should vote NO” is buying into the myth that a No vote is a vote for the status quo.

    Of course, we know that that’s not true. We know that a No vote is giving up our right to complain when Scotland is treated unfairly, because we democratically said we were fine with that. But I do wonder how many people still think that No is equal to “business as usual”.

  28. Stoops says:

    It seems unions no longer represent the working man, they now appear to want them to remain uninformed, docile and manipulatable for political control.

    I associate nothing good with the word ‘union’ these days.

    Just heard; Ian Paisley has died!

  29. bookie from hell says:

    latest guardian poll

    51% NO
    49% YES

    to close to call

  30. Marcia says:

    I see that the ICM poll has a telephone poll very close as James Kelly has on his blog

    Yes vote surges to 49% in earth-shaking TELEPHONE poll from ICM

    New ICM telephone poll :

    Yes 49%
    No 51%

    More details and a Poll of Polls update to follow…

    in the past telephone polls are more No friendly.

  31. eezy says:

    “Do not leave it to others to decide what’s best for you – Let us decide for you!”

    This is incredible!

  32. Phil Robertson says:

    Speaking of letters I received one today from Jim McColl urging a Yes vote “for the people who live here”. Only problem is I’m not sure where “here” is Scotland or his tax exile residence of Monaco.

    All that and backing from North Korea as well.

  33. muttley79 says:


    Are you campaigning next week?

  34. SLAB scab mantra repeated ad nauseum – by Trades Unionists – who accepted getting ZERO from the Bliar and Krash Govts they bought.?

    Keep them glum
    keep them dumb
    keep them poor

  35. Peter G says:

    When were the Trade Unions last honourable?

    Anti war march full of trade union banners. Pro war party funded by the same trade unions.

    The trade unions supporting democracy in every other country but their own.

    Remember the same unions staging riots against the use of computers and electronic printing at Wapping? They’ve been on the wrong side of history for too much of my life. Not that I’m bitter about the constant power cuts as a child. Or being spat at and threatened just for going in to work and doing my job.

    Time for the unions to be abolished. They are unable to change and must be replaced.

  36. Marcia says:

    Ignore the troll.

  37. Cyborg-nat says:

    Phil Robertson

    You’ll be able to visit him is Scotland when he returns after independence.

  38. gillie says:

    Don’t think just vote NO you stupid bastards.

    Brainless Together

  39. Peter G says:

    In other news. ICM has Yes at 49%.

    And there is a car going round our streets playing Big Country, asking people to vote yes and telling them to download the WBB.

  40. gillie says:

    ICM poll is ground breaking.

    We are on a roll folks, we are on a roll.

  41. Jim Campbell says:

    what happened to a trade union movement which asks it’s members firstly, what do you want from this? and secondly, supports those same members,regardless of effect on political parties? The trade Union movement has become as much of a monster as the Labour movement and self gratification is it’s new master. Thats just one more thing we can bin and start’s best we wipe the slate and start from scratch, no room for dead wood in a vibrant new Society.

  42. galamcennalath says:

    It sounds perfectly reasonable to me to say, “if you really can’t make your mind up then consider the two sides. Look at the enthusiasm, energy and positivity of the Yes grassroots campaign, then contrast that with venom spitting angry No elite. Which group of folks would you trust? Think about that and I’m sure you’ll opt for Yes.”

  43. gillie says:

    The scare stories are not working.

  44. heedtracker says:

    The only stupid git in this absurd instruction is the absurd author. “but please dont let others decide what’s best for you” and “I’ll decide what’s best for you”

    Yours moronically,

    John Hannett,
    One more wealthy UKOK shill desperately protecting the status quo.

  45. Brotyboy says:


    Bernadette McAliskey with a wonderfully cogent deconstruction of the argument for the British State and an explanation of what an Independent Scotland offers to the rest of the UK.

    If you don’t have the time for all of it, then from 15.15 in it is all summed up beautifully.

  46. Murray McCallum says:

    If you don’t know what to do, best not to leave your house.

    U-KOKers will be told when to come out by Usdaw in due course.

  47. fred blogger says:

    Noel Chidwick
    happy to inspire. 🙂

  48. OT

    Does anyone remember WHY Charlie Whelan sought sanctuary in Scotland after his service to Krash Gordon.

    He was so hated and abused by his ain folk in england that he had to run to our safe haven.

    Having accepted sanctuary in Scotland, he now abuses his host country by calling his neighbours in Inverness – Nazis.

    What did Charlie do in the Wars.
    Assisted Bliar,Krash,Campbell,Skeletor,Flipper etc.
    Produced the DODGY DOSSIER.

    Let`s boot this bum back across the border where his ain folk are waiting to greet him.

  49. call me dave says:

    Here’s an extract in the Guardian from the ICM commentary on the poll.

    The upshot, is a referendum prediction of:

    Yes 49% (48.7%)

    No 51% (51.3%)

    Men (52%) edge in favour of independence while women are more solidly against (55% for No). Age is clearly our defining (nonh-political) characteristic, and the data does confirm that the very young are split, but 25-34s (57%) and 35-44s (53%) are where the heaviest Yes vote is concentrated, along with Glaswegians.

    We have a strongly accurate recall of 2011 voting, and it has to be said that independence is striking how it underlines party positions. Only 29% of Labour voters defect from the party position – which maybe not be as many as possibly thought – and may imply that the Labour political heavyweights have, of late, successfully entered the fray.

    SNP voters as we might expect strongly side with Yes (91%).

    Yes voting are rejecting Westminster politics first and foremost (51%) but also throw into the mix emotional attachments to Scotland, and because they aspire to a more affluent future (40%). For No voters, it’s all about their Britishness (53%) and to a lesser extent because they think public services will be better protected within the Union. Interestingly, only 25% say it is because they hope for a more prosperous future – so despite the heavy handed economic melt down stuff from the No campaign by implication No voters are NOT really saying that their No vote is to avoid financial exposure.

  50. Brian Powell says:

    Little wonder union membership is dropping, hard to imagine these guys really standing up to pressure from bosses.

    Union membership in public sector in Norway 45%, here 14%.

    Last throw of the dice for them, especially if the UK is out of the EU or TIPP does its work.

  51. Marcia says:

    For all you poll junkies here are the data table for the ICM poll.

  52. Erchie says:

    There are two lines I am now hearing from NOs

    The first is this, “if you don’t know, don’t get informed, CHrist no, don’t seek information, just cross the NO box”

    The other is “If there is a narrow result for YES, then that will be divisive, whereas a narrow NO is a known quantity of status quo (Yes, yes, I know) so VOTE NO to resist divisiveness”

    SO I expect to hear more of these two in this last week

  53. Grizzle McPuss says:

    Step one: Remove brain

    Step Two: insert USDAW letter

    Step Three: use tissue to wipe away cereal drool

  54. Nana Smith says:


    Thank you for that vid.

  55. heedtracker says:

    “I suggest that if you don’t know, then you should vote No” was also on my last council tax bill from unionist Aberdeen city council too.

    Something like “pay your taxes, and vote No, Aberdeen’s great in the union” says you Aberdeen City council.

    Council spokesberk said that if SNP produced the White Paper at tax payers expense, Aberdeen City coucil has the right to charge council tax payers for Aberdeen City councils letter telling tax payers to vote No.

    Hard to argue with those kind of smarts. Aberdeen City Council is unionist run and in massive debt but thats UKOK unionists!

  56. free thinker says:

    I think therefore AYE am …

  57. Justin Ross says:

    OT I’m really starting to get concerned about the potential for fraud in the referendum.
    I’ve lived abroad in Europe for 5 years, and was last registered to vote in 2009 at my parents home in Glasgow. They stopped listing me as living there for the electoral register.
    BUT today on Skype they showed me the polling card for me that just arrived at their house!! They tore it up in front of me, but I’m really worried about how widespread this might be and it’s potential to be abused. Gonna contact Glasgow City Council and the Chief Counting Officer. Hope this isn’t widespread.

  58. JBS says:

    This from Business for Scotland:

    ‘UK To Get VETO On Gordon Brown’s Devo Proposals’:

  59. JimnArlene says:

    Dae as yer telt an vote naw ‘ cos yez cannae think fer yersels. No thanx, I’m voting YES.

  60. BigRik says:

    I work for ASDA.. and i’m just waiting for some such shit… however , i won’t be able to post it , as it would be up my managers arse… Truly shocking… i think i’ll take out a loan , using my friend as guarantor… it’s OK , if you don’t understand.. just sign here.

  61. Geoff Huijer says:

    Just ridiculous.

    And with regards to ‘Big Business’: Can you imagine the furore if BP (or whoever) announced during a General Election “If you vote Labour/Tory our prices will go up”?

    It would be decried as interfering with the democratic process surely?

  62. HandandShrimp says:

    The Cereal Union?

    What a shower of manipulative idiots.

    My union sent me a booklet with an extensive list of questions they had asked all the parties and Yes and No campaign groups. They made no recommendation and said see answers to the questions that are relevant to our members. By and large the Yes supporting answers were a damned sight more attractive than those from No.

  63. GrahamB says:

    O/T but relevant to tomorrow’s OO walk in Edinburgh. Black armbands on, Ian Paisley is off to the Big Bad Fire!

  64. muttley79 says:

    I think we really do require more SLAB figures to vote Yes, and come out openly and support independence. Otherwise, we may not get over the finishing line.

  65. MajorBloodnok says:

    muttley79 says: @Major – Are you campaigning next week?

    I’m in Edinburgh South (Aye Marchmont/Morningside) and I think there are a few things planned. As my canvassing runs are done now (e.g. 40+% for yes in Arden St which is remarkable) I’ll be on the Meadows stall when I can (afternoons from now on) but I am supposed to be working midweek too…

    Got anything planned?

  66. Indy_Scot says:

    I suppose given the stupidity of that statement, I can equally state without any criticism,

    If you don’t know – then you should vote YES.

  67. muttley79 says:

    @Graham B

    That news will make the atmosphere even more toxic. Yessers need to stay well clear of the Orange Order march tomorrow.

  68. highseastim says:

    Did USDAW ballot their members, like my union the RMT who balloted their Scottish membership which majoritaly voted for YES and that is now the RMT’s official stance!!

  69. David park says:

    O/T. I have received a reply from The John Lewis Partnership to my email expressing my displeasure at their politically motivated intervention in the referendum debate.

    The reply is, they say, confidential. I think it would be of interest to readers but am not sure of the legalities of publishing it.

  70. Hobbit says:

    But why has Jim Sillars decided to completely **** up the Yes campaign at the proverbial last minute?

  71. A.J. says:

    First Time Poster here.

    Just to say there is a podcast on BBC website of the Big Debate Reaction from last night.

    I haven’t listened to the end but caller ‘Tom’ around 9mins in (after a shaky start) finishes with a passionate plea for Yes.

    If your reading Tom , Well Done Sir.

  72. Brotyboy says:

    @ Nana Smith

    You’re welcome. Having been a Republican sympathiser for 40-odd years I am mightily uplifted to hear such a ringing endorsement of the Yes campaign from Bernadette McAliskey. And all without a hint of nationalism as defined by No.

  73. Paul says:

    USDAW or useless USDAW I used to call them ought to worry more about the pathetic wages and conditions that it’s members have to work under.
    The media are the biggest disgrace but the trade unions don’t lag far behind in this debate they really are living in some 60’s time warp. Time to get rid of all the naysayers when yes wins the New forward thinking Scotland has no room for dinosaurs in either the media or trade union movement both have let the people of not just Scotland down but the rest of the UK who would also benefit from a major shake up at Westminster, maybe that is the problem with the unions we in the yes camp have are shaking the rotting system to it’s core in 3 years what have the trade unions done in 100.

  74. Marcia says:



  75. Brotyboy says:

    40+% for yes in Arden St

    The Rebus effect?

  76. BigRik says:

    I wont ne anywhere near the O/O… it makes me angry without the referendum.Don’t suppose they would cancel? What am i saying , of course not.

  77. MajorBloodnok says:

    I see the Express is calling Alex Salmond a dictator today and juxtaposing his picture with that of a certain North Korean…

  78. Juan P says:


    Perth Gazette has picked up on the bias BBC editing:

    It’s also running a story on the big debate with young ‘Yes’ voters being asked to pretend they were ‘No’ or ‘Undecided’ because too many of those in attendance were Yes.

  79. muttley79 says:


    I live quite close to you in Edinburgh. Would it be possible for one of us to get the others’ e-mail from Rev Stu and arrange to meet? I am wanting to get involved, as I am getting a little bored with just commenting on the internet. It would be good to go canvassing with you. I am reserved so you would be doing the talking! I think I need to do something more active from Monday to Wednesday next week.

  80. Paul says:

    Should read, maybe that is the problem with the trade union movement we on the yes side have dealt the establishment the biggest scare in their lives in 3 years what have the unions done in nearly 100?

  81. BigRik says:

    David… i think you can publish if you like.. they may say its confidential.. but did you sign a confidentiality form? if not.. publish and be damned 🙂

  82. GrahamB says:

    No danger, we get enough of them through here in Glasgow, best avoided all year round. Suppose the Union Flags on their lodges will all be at half mast, good practice for next Friday.

  83. TD says:

    David park

    Unless you have willingly entered into an agreement with John Lewis to keep the correspondene confidential then I do not believe there is any issue with you publishing the response. If they want to keep it confidential then they should not sned it. Keep a printed copy of the e-mail to show, if necessary, that they did in fact send it and I am sure you will be OK to publish. You are not bound by their request to keep it confidential.

  84. TD says:

    “send” not “sned”!

  85. Stevie boy says:

    Just back from delivering pamphlets in Seafar in Cumbernauld.

    Delivered to an elderly sheltered housing area and was quite taken aback and happy to see the amount of Yes posters in the windows. I don’t think I’ve seen such a concentrated amount of support in any area I’ve been in so far.

    The media portray that the ‘vast majority’ of elderly people will vote No.

    On the evidence of what I’ve just witnessed it’s not as clear cut as they say!!

  86. muttley79 says:


    Apologies, I did not see your comment about how you had finished canvassing!

  87. gillie says:

    Ian Paisley has gone to meet his maker.

    “Jesus it’s hot down here”

  88. jackie g says:

    Just heard that Ed Miliband has been paying tribute to Ian paisley..seriously is he joining the OO march tommorow?

  89. Clootie says:

    The article on business for Scotland regarding the new time table.

    If the Lords consider the timetable unconstitutional then how can BT continue to claim it?
    I fully expected that the whole issue would be kicked into the long grass after a NO vote. However we now know it will be kicked into touch before we have even voted.

    One more point. Raise awareness of the term DevoMax being used constantly. It is a handful of powers on taxation which are in fact a poison chalice. We would be increasing tax to offset the cuts in the Scottish budget. We may be able to mitigate budget cuts for a few years but the only outcome of local tax increases will be:

    A) chasing people and businesses out of Scotland
    B) the Scottish Government will get the blame for the taxes and not Westminster for the budget cuts.

    The “powers” are intended to cripple Scotland by reducing Barnett consequentials.
    The final bill which goes through Parliament will include a Barnett amendment based on the GIFT of these generous powers.

  90. fred blogger says:

    “where do you get the idea from, that we say you are too wee, too poor, and too stupid to make decisions from,” they ask!
    #patronizingbtlady etc etc.
    “we know best,” why, “because we say so, that’s why.”

  91. Giving Goose says:

    I had an intereting chat about the polls.

    It was in refererence to the feedback that is coming out from people like RIC.

    The previously disenfranchised people who have now registered to vote may not have landlines and are effectively hidden from the polling companies.

    If you consider the huge amount of the population that has registered to vote that hasn’t previously, then a question has to be asked as to what way they will vote. Is the motivation to save the Union stronger among the previously disillusioned than a desire to travel a different route to a more prosperous and healthy future?

  92. MajorBloodnok says:

    muttley79 – are you on twitter? You can DM me directly there @majormcbloodnok

    Not sure if I’ll do more canvassing now, although YesMarchmont is keen to get the highest returns for any Edinburgh ward! So there may a final push somewhere.

    For now I’ll probably just be doing one or other of the stalls, as follows:

    Saturday: Morningside Post Office (Morningside Station) 12.30 till about 6pm (I’ll be there from 3pm)

    If you want to help further, from Sunday-Wednesday there is the Meadows stall (bottom of Middle Meadow Walk)12.30 – 6pm. I’m not sure If I will be able to attend any of those however, as I’ve still got to go to work!

    The Meadows stall is very lively and there are at least half a dozen people there (and I met Waterbeastie there this week).

    Cheers MB

  93. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Giving Goose

    I understand that from 18,000 canvas returns RIC was getting 63% YES. That magic number…

  94. Fireproofjim says:

    Major Blodnok
    Re Arden Street,. Not surprised at high canvas results. I have done three leaflet deliveries there in the last six weeks so they are well informed!
    I am also extremely fit now as they are all tenements. Worth it to hear your results.

  95. Helena Brown says:

    In 1999 I left Unison as a shop steward when they failed to provide one of my members with a proper level of assistance over a case which needed more than I felt I could provide. I then joined another Trade Union which fortunately no longer exists having been amalgamated into another. They made the stupid decision to tell me how to vote in an election and I am not the sort to be telt.
    Best decision is to ignore them. My Husband did that for years with his. I have to say they really are members of the NO campaign arrogant b’s.

  96. bjsalba says:

    Can anyone tell me what percentage of Scottish Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers USDAW represents?
    Or failing that
    Can anyone tell me what percentage of UK Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers USDAW represents?

    How many are on minimum wage, or zero hour contracts?

    How may are less than a living wage?

  97. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    I would take heart at the engineered false poll result, It means they know the results recorded in the postal votes and are throwing everything at what’s left to try to recover the situation.

  98. Proud Cybernat says:

    Just vote No then put the kettle on, luv.

  99. MajorBloodnok says:


    I can’t state categorically that people were saying “I’ll vote YES, anything, just call off the leafletters” but it may have been a factor…

    Actually, there was a good mixture of well-informed YES and dismissive no. And some of the latter, I think, will not bother to vote…

  100. David Park says:

    Dear _________,

    Thank you for contacting us about this issue.

    We have a thriving business in Scotland with over 3,000 Partners, 9 shops and a contact centre. But it’s not our position to tell the people of Scotland how they should vote next week – that’s a decision for them.

    In the course of announcing our financial results, our Chairman was asked about the question of Scottish Independence. He replied that the decision is for the Scottish people and that, much longer term, a yes vote may increase costs and possibly prices for all retailers.

    Our Chairman has made two points.

    The first is that a yes vote could create risks for our business – economic uncertainty and the likelihood that higher costs have to be reflected in higher prices.

    And secondly, we are one Partnership and that’s served us very well across the UK. We are determined to maintain the unity of the Partnership whatever the practical implications.

    However, we would very much regret an outcome which added complexity to employment practices, pensions, laws and taxes, especially if these diverged over time.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Peter Kidd
    Customer Services
    John Lewis

  101. HandandShrimp says:

    ICM 49 Yes 51 No

    We heading back into the zone it would seem 🙂

  102. heedtracker says:

    Graun still hoping against hope.

    Crash Gordon’s extra special intervention’s either held on to some Labour in Scotland No’s or worse but check out their “How risky is Scotland’s future is…”

    “Asked “how risky” they think independence is…The difference between the two propositions as measured by the average scores on the five point riskiness scale (where 5 represents a huge risk) is substantial, but not perhaps as large as might be expected. The mean score for sticking within the union is 2.7, compared with 3.2 for going it alone.”

    This is why Scotland will be a independent country, this time next week.

  103. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    I guess it may have something to do with the fact, the more informed people are, the more they are likely to vote YES.

    “Don’t think! Vote NO!”

  104. Sinky says:

    Vote Labour then sit at the back of the bus and shut up.

  105. Inbhir Anainn says:

    Same old guff frae my ain trade union the CWU popped through my door last week in a 14 page booklet. It boiled down to the CWU fully appreciates and respects your individual decision in this historical referendum ballot. However, as the union that represents nearly 17,000 members working for some major employers in Scotland, we believe we have a responsibility – to point out from a work and policy perspective – why we do not believe Independence is in our members’ collective interests and why we are recommending to CWU members in Scotland that they ‘Vote No’ in the referendum ballot on 18th September 2014.

    Nothing to do whatsoever with the CWU paying the political levvy to the Labour Party aye right. Afraid in this respect my ain trade union will just have to respect my individual decision. I’m voting ‘AYE’ for my children and grandbairns.

  106. HandandShrimp says:

    Looks like Kingfisher, M&S, Asda and John Lewis are going to issue joint dire warning of frogs and boils in the next 48 hours say the Beeb.

    I think it might be time to consider an official boycott of these companies.

  107. seanair says:

    O/T maybe?
    This morning I received my letter from Jim McColl which is being sent to over 600,000 people in Scotland.
    What a difference from the “cannae date that” from the unionists. All about OPPORTUNITIES AND WHAT WE CAN ACHIEVE if we vote Yes.
    Very uplifting, and good timing from a successful businessman.

  108. heedtracker says:

    USDAW have nearly 40,000 members with 18,000 of them in Northern Ireland which is a fun fact but pretty staggering considering UKOK population/pro rata stuff.

  109. bjsalba says:

    I wonder if these companies have considered how the YES grassroots organization will react? If we ca do such a great job of getting out all those Blue Books, Booklets Leaflets, Newspapers, stickers, etc we can surely organize a boycott or two.

    Stu I presume you keep enough records to come up with a list?

  110. Capella says:

    @ Brotyboy 12.51
    Great video and very much On Topic! Thanks for posting the link.

  111. Jim McIntosh says:

    Out of interest From David Park’s letter above, can someone tell me where the 9 John Lewis shops are in Scotland.

  112. Chic McGregor says:

    “For all you poll junkies here are the data table for the ICM poll.”

    Thanks for that, had a quick look.

    Most obvious comment, and apologies if the point has already been made, but weighting those who did not vote at the last election by 0.5 even if they are saying they are sure to vote, is clearly helping the NO prediction.

    That is, if you believe, and I have no reason to doubt them, the claims that those who have registered to vote for the first time in years are heavily YES leaning.

  113. MolliBlum says:

    I wouldn’t fret too much about it. People are thinking for themselves. When the CWU urged backing a “No” vote at its Bournemouth conference in March (?) this year, I asked 3 different postmen their views.
    One said “Wur no’ listenin’ tae them up here!”
    The second said “They neednae think they can treat us like children”
    And the third response was unprintable.
    But whit dae ah ken — ah’m jist sittin’ here in ma kitchen drinkin’ ma tea and eatin’ ma cereal…

  114. heedtracker says: is that USDAW membership figure

    Taxpayers Alliance after them for tax funded uniom subs presumably. Press and Journal also have hit parade of most expensive Westminster Scottish MP’s today. with most of them all costing over £200 grand a year.

    Most expensive MP? Beaker Alexander but tight in behind is Anne Begg. Begg has been incredibly conspicuous from anything to do with the referendum but why is for another day.

  115. Clootie says:

    Try this one next week (dealmaker)

    Two friends with radically different views regarding the referendum were on their way to the polls on Election Day. Yes guy turns to the No voter and says “You know, we’ve argued about this for months, and we’re obviously going to vote differently. Our votes will cancel each other out anyways, so why don’t we just call it a draw and go home instead?” No guy agrees, they shake hands and part ways.
    Another man who overheard the conversation approaches the dealmaker and says with admiration, “That’s a real sportsmanlike deal you just made!”
    “Not really,” Yes guy says, “Just this afternoon I’ve already done this three times.”

  116. heedtracker says:

    DeMacolypse 2104.

    Its the Daily Show! Scotland has all the UK oil and all the UK nukes.

  117. Tom Foyle says:

    “Please do not leave it to others to make the decision for you.”
    Well, obviously not. Why the f*** do you think we’re voting YES?
    The whole POINT of independence is so’s we can decide OUR future OURSELVES.

  118. Stevie boy says:

    Latest news..

    Loch Ness Monster just been spotted eating weans and causing havoc at the thought of an independant country!

    .. well there can’t be much else they have to throw at us 🙂

  119. G H Graham says:

    Britons! Vote NO !

    There’s no need for confusion & doubt because the assuring, guiding hand of Westminster has an infinitely long track record of economic, social & political {ahem} … stability & fairness, you see.

    We only want what’s best for everyone, so vote NO because after all, working class people do realise that in the end, toffs really do know best. Lord John Prescott effectively said as much when, on the 8th July 2010, he replaced his donkey jacket for an ermine robe.

    And isn’t playing bingo & darts over a few refreshing light beers such fun?

    Did you know Kate is having another Royal baby?

    “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the …”

  120. joe kane says:

    Here’s Scottish Labour MP Jim Sheridan in the House of Commons demanding the leader of the Tory party get Tory bosses to bully their workers into voting for Tory party policy –
    Jim Sheridan, Labour MP asks PM to get businesses to bully their workers into No vote
    02 Jul 2014

  121. Gary says:

    They took their ‘NO’ stance by having a show of hands at conference of delegates from across UK. Scottish delegates were outnumbered vastly. PCS, on the other hand, polled Scottish members with three choices – YES, NO or Neutral. A small number voted NO and Neutral beat YES by a slim margin. But then USDAW has been bought by the supermarkets.

  122. CameronB Brodie says:

    horacesaysyes said:

    This union, according to Wikipedia, has agreements with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, The Co-op and Tesco amongst others.

    So we’ve got both the management and the unions combining together to oppose Yes now.

    Benjamin Disraeli would be so proud his dream of a fascist One Nation Britain is fully functional, with working class leaders doing their master’s bidding to oppose social justice. Stooges. 🙁

  123. Jimbo says:

    “if you don’t know – then you should vote NO”.

    Strangely enough, that’s what my friends daughter told her father that she and the rest of the 16 & 17 year olds at Graeme High School in Falkirk are being told to do. “If you don’t know – then you should vote NO.”

  124. Dennis Smith says:

    @ Jim McIntosh at 2.08 on John Lewis stores

    3 John Lewis stores – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. The rest are Waitrose food stores – 2 in Edinburgh, the rest (I think) around Glasgow.

  125. Kevin Brown says:

    First time commenting on Wings but have read every single article for the last 3 or 4 months. (Probably spend at least 2 hours a day just reading the comments too. I love this site, lol)

    I am a member of USDAW as I work for Tesco.
    They have definitely not asked members their opinions on this matter. While I have not received this letter yet, I hope I do so I can take it to work and use it to help convince people in the staff canteen why they should not be listening to this “Advice”.
    Might have to consider withdrawing my membership fees.

    We are going to win this!!

  126. west_lothian_questioner says:

    USDAW was the trade union I joined when I started my first job out of school. I recall going to a meeting and listening to some shop stewards getting all pointy and preachy as us, telling us.. or trying to tell us… how to think. I ledt that trade union about a month after I joined. Years later I found myself working in a different industry and in order to secure employment I had to join the EETPU. At a meeting the union rep and shop stewards tried telling us how to think. I left the union. In later years in another place I joined TGWU and met a rep who tried to tell me how to think. Three out of three… sod’em.. I dont want to be told how to think.. I wanted to be represented. This sort of crap is unfortunately pretty commonplace in the world of the unions these days. They can all get tae France for me… useless apologists for a corrupt elitist world view. So many unions seem to have lost touch with the reasons for their existence. Hell mend them…

  127. R Webb says:

    Labour are coming back – maybe.

  128. YESGUY says:


    Superb thanks for that screen wash 😎

  129. Davy says:

    My union is the RMT, and it gave a proper democratic vote to all its Scottish members regarding the referendum, it did not include its members from other parts of the UK nor did it only have the senior union officials make the decision for them without any consultation of members.


  130. Peter Campbell says:

    I’m in the PCS union, who’ve taken a neutral stance, and to each possible question a member may want an answer to, they’ve given a quote from a variety of sources (both Yes and No) on what each of their positions are. The way it should be.

  131. thoughtsofascot says:

    I remember this one from back when I was at Uni and did part time work at Morrisons. They tried to sign me up to this union when I was hired. They, a corporation, actually encouraged it (it was literally the store manager trying to sign us new recruits up). This raised a huge red flag for me because unions and management within corporations should not be that cozy. Suffice to say, I told them to stuff their membership where the sun doesn’t shine. They definitely didn’t have the interests of workers at heart then, and I doubt they do now.

  132. Auld Rock says:

    thoughtsofascot. When I retired I took a job over one Christmas and I asked about Trade Union Representation and was told that the Union was USDAW and that they were next to useless as they never stuck-up for their workers and were too happy to cave-in to management, I later joined the GMB(now UNITE) retail section. So feelings about USDAW stretch far and wide.

    Auld Rock

  133. thomaspotter2014 says:

    Make no mistake,The ‘NO BETTER TOGETHER THANKS’fraudsters are setting up a 51%/NO-49%/YES rigged result.
    All I can find are 80%/YES-20%/NO everywhere I go from people on the streets, so where is their poll coming from?????
    We gotta be on our most alert to these insidious liars and NOTHING is beyond them!
    Flag up their pathetic lies for what they are.
    BBC BIAS PROTEST should be a rallying point at Pacific Quay Glasgow this Sunday.Please try to be there in Support.They need reminding who pays their wages through licence tax..A TOTAL DISGRACE.



  134. davidb says:

    Re comments above – rogue polls/ postal vote spying.

    I was thinking this afternoon along the same lines. Look what happened.

    2 polls put us ahead or neck and neck. Yet private taxpayer funded polling will be going on on a greater scale than that afforded by newspapers. Reports on this site suggest that Yes is in the lead in many areas by big margins. Look at the houses. Saltires and Yes outnumber no by 10 to one everywhere. Granted not many people are declaring, but even I, a solid Yes, am a bit sheepish about wearing the badge – and yet in my yoof I wore badges declaring the F word with abandon. We all jumped and cheered and forgot the margin of error in our hubris. Now they think we are on the run and we are struggling to believe in ourselves and our own eyes.

    I know its easy to read the postal votes. I know that all electronic communication is routinely monitored. I am really suspicious that they suddenly chose to blitz us this week. Why? I don’t believe it was just a couple of opinion polls. They are spooked because they know we are winning.

    People must come out in droves to vote. It is harder for them to cheat us if we overwhelm the ballot.

  135. CameronB Brodie says:

    @ Ed Milliband
    Tell us about the TTIP Ed, tell us how it ensures privatisation of the NHS if we vote No.

  136. CameronB Brodie says:

    @ Ed Milliband
    Tell us what your vision of a One Nation Britain is Ed. Do you think English Socialism is the way forward?

  137. ClosetJambo says:

    Some worrying comments about trade unions on this thread. I am a trade union activist for Prospect and, in my opinion, trade unions are as important today as they ever were. Fortunately, Prospect is not aligned with any political party and we have maintained a neutral position with regard to the indyref.

    Prospect has done a lot of work to try and help members to reach an informed decision as to how to vote next week. If you want to see some of what we’ve been doing, you can see it at –

  138. highseastim says:

    Closet Jambo, my union the RMT is also not aligned to any political party. What has happened this year is that the union’s Council of Executives voted to remove any reference to “the Labour Party” from the rule book, and our AGM unanimously agreed, as we do not see them as a party of the people any more, rather an offshoot of the Tory party.

  139. ClosetJambo says:

    Good for the RMT! I would be the first to agree that many of the bigger TUs need to take a long, hard look in the mirror (NOT the newspaper). We exist to represent our members and support their interests – pouring money at the red tories is a BIG mistake.

    The indyref is a big challenge for Prospect members – we obviously have YES and NO members but we represent colleagues in defence, including Faslane and Coulport so debate is lively you could say.

    My personal view – with the union hat off – is that we have a chance for the people to take the power back on Thursday and build a progressive country that looks after ALL of its people. I really, really hope we vote YES!

  140. KaMate says:

    Bow down to you imperial masters.

  141. Eddie Black says:

    I have been a member of a union for my entire working life. This statement has made me consider withdrawing my membership of Usdaw. Sad, sad times.

  142. Graeme Attkins says:

    Hi Stu,

    Is there any way to verify the veracity of this letter from Usdaw? Having linked to your post earlier, I’ve just had the following message from a friend: ” I’m a member of usdaw and have not received such a thing. Don’t believe everything that’s posted on the facebook!”

    If we could prove the source, rather than just having a nice screen grab of the actual e-mail content, that’d be grand!


  143. james says:

    I am a rep in usdaw and a member of the only branch in Scotland, as far as I know,that held a meeting about our unions decision to support better together. We managed to get the Scottish director Lawrence and his deputy to attend the meeting to try and defend their position with our senior rep speaking out against them. In a two hour meeting they fled after one hour, having had strips torn off them by our members for making their decision without consulting a single ordinary member of the union. We also took a referendum poll at the end of the meeting with the result of yes=92%, no=0%, dont know=8%

  144. From an English Trade Unionist says:

    Don’t tar all Unions with the same brush. Scottish members of my Union (PCS) debated its position and agreed not to take a side, but to inform members and encourage turnout.

    Good luck on Thursday, England needs your Yes vote as much as you do.

  145. Dr Ew says:

    In the 80s I started out an ardent trade unionist and active member of the Labour Party. By the early 90s I resigned from Labour, estranged by their abandonment of nuclear disarmament, utter failure to defend people over the Poll Tax, and general lurch to the right. More particularly I was disgusted by an anti-democratic and bullying culture. As my party membership lapsed I voted Labour in ’92 feeling there was no alternative – but that was the last time I ever wasted a vote on them.

    I remained a member of the trade unions relevant to my employment through to 2001 when I became self-employed. Trying to debate anything political, or even anything employment-related if it rocked the boat, was a non-starter. Labour Party apparachniks would rule discussion out of order, or refuse to allow me to speak at meetings.

    One serious and complex issue arose where I (and nine other colleagues of equal grade) required representation we knew our workplace rep was far too cosy with the management so asked for an officer from Scottish headquarters. She was very professional and we were impressed. She assured us on the strength of our case and said she would meet with management to sort things out. Two weeks later, she signed a deal agreeing to (essentially) the very change to our conditions we had been protesting. No consultation, no explanation, no referring back to us. Our group resigned en masse and I represented the group in direct negotiations. The managers backed down and our conditions were restored. Most of us rejoined the union; for me and others it was unthinkable not to be a union member – a response I now see as Pavlovian rather that Marxian.

    In 1999 I asked to opt out of the political levy to Labour and was caught in an onslaught of vitriol by my comrades, with dark promises I had thrown away my career in a place where the union held sway. Despite signing the paper it took almost a year before the levy actually stopped, and another year before I was refunded the overpayment – after a threat of legal action.

    Some people think it was Thatcher that emasculated the unions. I disagree. She was the enemy, sure, but the unions did it to themselves – in the name of the Labour Party.

  146. Slayer says:

    Received my letter from Usdaw today. Similar wording as above but does again say “don’t leave it to others to decide what is best for you. If you don’t know – then vote no”.

    Truly awful from a Union.

  147. softshoebanana says:

    I am a member of the RMT and during the course of this referendum we have arranged meetings and consulted members culminating in a ballot for Scottish members.
    The result of the ballot was
    Total Votes Cast 2389
    Number Voting for a “Yes Position” 1051
    Number Voting for a “No Position” 968
    Number Voting for a “Neutral Position” 365
    Spoilt Papers 5
    This is how Unions should be conducting themselves at this time

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