Hey everyone Now that we’ve entered the next phase of the independence campaign it is I believe time to get talking. Whether it be to friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours or even random strangers the time has come to politely broach the subject of the coming referendum, find out where people are at and seek by means of subtle or in some cases not so subtle persuasion inform them why I am voting yes to terminate an outmoded and redundant union and restore our country to full nationhood as a member of the global family of nations.
Having campaigned for both the SNP and the broader independence movement not to mention a number of other issues over the years, it is safe to say I know how to have ‘the chat’ without in any way causing offence to people. This is crucial if you want to win hearts and minds for the cause. It is of the utmost importance that you can link the topic into everyday conversations as this will make it seem natural rather than forced. This makes the person your chatting with more open to listening to viewpoint and possibly engaging in debate with you. This in turn gives you a chance to state the case for your cause.
In the past week to ten days I have engaged in a number of such discussions my first since the Christmas break and sad though it may be for Better Together it appears that I am doing rather well. Don’t get me wrong there is no grounds for complacency but I do detect that there is the beginning of a definite shift from no to yes. I think the long campaign chosen by Yes Scotland was a masterstroke as I believe that only one side has the energy and motivation to see this fight through to the end and it certainly isn’t No Scotland.
Evidence to support this shift whilst it comes from personal examples is nonetheless telling and the more we get out campaigning be it formally or informally the more our positive message will be heard. My examples start on Wednesday when a long standing twitter friend of mine declared he was voting yes. This was I have to say particularly pleasing for me as I had put over two years hard work in to securing his vote and we had debated the issue in detail having more than a few differences of opinion along the way. However I stuck to my principles and assured this life long socialist that independence was the only way to gain the fairer more inclusive society he wants to see.
On Thursday night, I got an even better reaction when on the bus a woman and I got chatting about that favourite of Scottish topics, the weather. It was during a good natured chat on this most Scottish of issues that I was able to test the political climate. My companion said it was very cold, I agreed that this was indeed the case and said that I was wearing two pairs of tights to fight against the chill. I have to say she said smiled at this, and when we had that kind of chat that only we girls can have, she giggled quite rightly I may add when I said that the cold wasn’t the only reason for this decision. I informed her I had noticed the previous day that much to my annoyance my tights had travelled south faster than Scotland’s money or was decent for any girl and without the aid of a passport.
After she had stopped giggling she then said I take it you’ll be voting yes when I replied I wouldn’t just voting yes I would be campaigning for it she seemed intrigued and asked me what motivated me to get involved. I replied that I wanted to see a fairer more equal Scotland a Scotland which just wouldn’t be allowed to exist under the constraints of the union.
When my companion asked me what I meant by the constraints of the union I was able to explain that though we have our own parliament lack of independence means that the budget is set by Westminster. This means that we only get a small amount of money to spend in comparison to what we contribute to the UK treasury and that should we vote no our already small budget will be slashed by a Westminster Government hell bent on revenge for us even daring to have the audacity to consider leaving them.
She replied that she never really been too political and I was the first person rather than politician who expressed genuine fears and concerns about Scotland’s future should we decide to stay within the UK as she was much more used to hearing about the fears should we choose to leave it. Especially in the press on the TV news programmes.
I said that this was hardly surprising since both the press and media were London controlled and therefore very friendly to their pals in what I called the Westminster political village and therefore it was only natural that they would be hostile to Scottish independence as may represent a threat to their power base and diminish their influence in Scotland.
I also tore to shreds the biggest lie ever told in my lifetime namely that the referendum is all about Alex Salmond and the SNP rather than the people of Scotland being able to elect the government we want. In an attack which didn’t miss its targets I said that the key question to which no Labour no Scotland supporter can ever give a satisfactory answer is why would any Scottish Labour Party supporter ever support as they do a Conservative Government at Westminster rather than a real Scottish Labour Party government in an independent Scotland with the full powers which only independence can bring to make the changes they claim to seek. The answer is they can’t and by doing so they are doing as they always have done putting personal gain before political priorities and self interest before the interests of the people of Scotland.
I also added that I was delighted to see so many past and indeed present Labour voters and indeed members coming to the banner for Yes as by winning a majority for Scotland they could have a great chance to win a majority for Labour in the first independence elections in 2016. I then twisted the knife even further in to the unionists by saying it was great to see people like Dennis Canavan John McAillion and Jim Sillars
campaigning for a better fairer Scotland and that I for one would sooner live in the land of John McLean and Jimmy Reid than the land of Johann Lamont and Anas Sarwar.
This got my companion thinking and she asked me if I believed Scotland could afford to leave the UK to which I replied we can’t afford not to. Citing the fact that Scotland seldom if ever gets the Government she wants in Westminster elections and a Labour Party dominated as geography demands it has to be by a fresh intake of MP’s from the south of England with their associated home counties interests is never going to consider the needs of what they and the London based media refer to as the Celtic fringe. I also informed the woman in question that in the real world no Government will listen to the concerns of a geographic nation or as they see it an area which has only 9 percent of the population of this multi-national state and only 4 percent of elected members of their parliament.
With regards to finance issue I nailed that by informing my companion that Scotland contributes more than our fair share to the London Treasury compared to the pocket money we are given back in return. This I said was an insane arrangement and simply had to stop. As for the lies of Westminster parties, I told the woman in as diplomatic terms as I could manage that the lie that we were in debt and couldn’t cope without the supposed might of not so great Britain was a fantasy of the infantile. I also stated in no uncertain terms that if Scotland was as poor as the unionists would like to claim that we would have been thrown out of the union at the same time as many commonwealth nations were being given their independence and there would be no referendum on the matter either. In fact I even went as far to say that this referendum is not about independence it is merely about the timing of it and who sets the terms and conditions.
You see it is my belief and that of many others that it is coming anyway, the decision we have to make is whether we go for it and therefore put ourselves in a position of strength or wait until we are no longer wanted rendering ourselves helpless against the victorious agents of change and having to beg from crumbs from the masters table.
It was now I decided to play my ace card and believe me this was the one that sealed the deal. I said I was at my local SNP Burns Supper last Saturday and in a brilliant immortal memory speech our Deputy First Minister asked us to consider what we would have to give up if we were being asked to join the union today. We would have give up getting the government we elected and our reward would to get one we did not. Our nuclear free Scotland would be no longer and instead we would given weapons of mass destruction to place on our soil less than 30 miles from our largest centre of population. Also our health service would be privatised and we would be giving all our tax and revenue to another country who would dispose of their new found wealth by spending the money on their priorities rather than Scotland’s it is I said an idea so ridiculous it would never be allowed to happen. At this the woman said well when you put like that it would make sense to vote yes and you know I think you might just have persuaded me.
Finally I told her of a quote from one of Scotland’s finest literary talents Des Dillon who said that voting no because you don’t like Alex Salmond or the SNP is like refusing take a bus because you don’t like the look of the driver and I have to say that Des is not the only one to whom that makes no sense whatsoever because if you know need a particular bus to take you to your destination then you take it. What you do when you get there I’d up to you the important thing is getting there safe and in the quickest possible time. What you don’t do is stand at the bus stop in the middle of snowstorm in the vain and deluded hope that another bus will be put on the route to cover your emergency as you are more likely to lose the bus you have than gain a new one.
As the bus reached her stop and she got ready to leave, the woman thanked me for my chat and said I had answered all her questions honestly and that I certainly knew my stuff which meant she would be far more likely to vote yes. I said that poets were always good chat and that I hoped that I had shown I was a lass of Independent mind to which she smiled and answered yes. It is my firm conviction that the more one to one chats we have the bigger the majority for Independence will be on the day the votes are counted and I for one am ready to get talking.
Love And Best Wishes