Hey everyone As Thursday was May Day I thought I would do my bit for internationalism by distributing some leaflets for the Radical Independence Campaign. The leaflets had the slogan Britain is for the rich but Scotland can be ours, builds on the campaign theme that Another Scotland Is Possible.
By this we mean a fairer, more inclusive, more democratic Scotland built on a foundation of a more equal society where we genuinely do share resources and help other people rather than just talk about it. You know the way they do at Westminster they talk and then they talk some more, and then they talk again. I have to say however when in comes to action well they tend to not to be very good at that but when the public force their hands in to doing something they are quick to claim the credit.
Like my leafleting on Saturday I maintained high energy and enthusiasm throughout my stint which would have longer had I not had Glasgow Writers to attend. I do have to say however that I did find Saturday’s shift slightly easier on the grounds that it is always harder to get people interested in anything after a hard day at work, college, or university.
That said I did get more take up’s than refusals and most of those who did refuse did so politely as I would expect to be the case in a civilised democracy.
As on Saturday I was interested to find who in terms of age, class and gender were most inclined to take leaflets from me and my demographic study such as it was produced one very interesting result. You see, I found take up highest among younger voters of both sexes but in particular younger females. This runs contrary to the trend that is reported in the mainstream press and media that this the hardest group for yes to win support.
So why I am getting such a high numbers of female voters willing to engage with me and take a leaflet? I think that there may be a couple of factors at play here. The first that I am always polite and civil. The importance of this cannot be over stressed as nobody wants to be approached by an over zealous leafleter who might come across as if they are on commission. This to me at least is the golden rule of canvassing and one which you break at your peril. You must remember that if the public want James Bond they can watch it at home on their DVD.
Another reason why I think I do so well in this group is because I am myself female and therefore I think I can reach out to younger female voters. I also make sure that I show younger voters the respect I believe they are due. I say this because this group though individuals often come in groups of two or three and I always make sure that all in the company are offered the chance of the leaflet as I want everyone in Scotland to be the best informed they can be before voting on the most important decision our country will ever take.
This is in stark contrast to the unionists who want to preach a sermon of fear from the ivory towers of the palace of Westminster and pray to their god which is not the god of heaven and earth but the greed and self interest that we will believe what they say as we will be too afraid of the consequences. I’m afraid to say however that I have to give them a message which I know they will not like. The women I have spoken to especially the younger ones, and gearing up to the challenges of the future and are not afraid to face them. This demographic is yielding results for yes as they hear and contrast our positive vision for Scotland with the negative narrative of myths and spin from the no campaign.
Yesterday my post included a leaflet from that well known comedy double act Lamont and Sarwar, in this leaflet laughingly entitled together we can, this not so dynamic duo made up of a joker and a riddler I’ll leave you to decide who plays which role they boldly go where no Labour Party member or at least none with sense has gone before nor would ever want to by making the quite ridiculous claim that they have an idea which is bigger than Independence. This is earth calling Johann and Anas it’s time for your reality check. There is no idea bigger than independence. There is no idea bigger than the liberation of our country from an 18th concept designed only to serve the interest of rich where a greedy few benefit at the expense of everyone else. What you are in effect doing, is handing over power to a self serving elite in a remote location a long way from Scotland and a long way from responsibility. Voting no tells me that you neither have the intellectual nor political confidence to take responsibility for your actions and this message which I put across to the public at every opportunity I get is more often than not a lot better received than you would like.
You see it gets to the root of your problem you are too ashamed to show your face in public and as you have not one valid reason for voting no when a bit more light is shed on it cannot be exposed and exploited by our campaign. You reek of social and cultural conservativism which basically says we know the system is broke and we cannot be bothered to fix it. So, if as we hope you will, you remain as apathetic as we hope you do we will never need to fixing it, so shut up and don’t ask questions.
It was easy to identify the no voters yesterday rather than those who were just busy commuters and couldn’t be bothered with anyone handing them a leaflet. I say this I believe it was all in the body language. You see the no voters tended to walk with their heads down. This is something which they have in common with unionists in the Westminster parties who more often than not bury their heads in the sand when it comes to addressing the real issues which face 21st century Scotland. To those people many of whom will no doubt consider our presence to be an unpleasant distraction, I say only this. You had better get used to seeing us we will be ever more visible from now until decision day and we will visit a conscious near you much sooner than you would like. If this is your idea of a horror movie, let me reassure you that it needn’t be, this way. Our ambition to raise Scotland’s game and we are playing to win.
We hope once you have read our leaflet and maybe heard our case that you will join us in fighting for the fairer more equal society so many of you believe in. To some of you this may a difficult step to take. I and others in the yes appreciate this especially if like myself you have brought in the tradition of internationalism and have a long history of not just political and economic solidarity with your fellow workers of the world but also of social and cultural solidarity with the people of these islands and for that reason are bitterly opposed to nationalism.
This campaign however, is not about nationalism it is about of a nation to self determination. It is the right to democratic accountability as we believe the best decisions about Scotland will be made by the people who live and work here. Our campaign is not about pies in the sky and promises of sunshine but neither is it about jam tomorrow because as those familiar with Alice In Wonderland will already know tomorrow never comes. That may be what the unionists want but it isn’t what I want and I suspect if they examine their core beliefs it will not be what the majority of Scots who believe in a socially progressive Scotland want either.
I say this because I was brought up in a family which had fairly mixed political views with everything from Conservatism to Communism but it is perhaps one of my life’s greatest ironies that the further to the left you were in my family the more likely you were to support independence. My gran, my Uncle Tom, amongst my mum’s side, and my Dad were the socialists in my family or at least the ones I knew growing up and all hated the union with a burning fury. This was especially true of my gran who could not disguise her contempt and made no attempt to try often referring to the union flag as the blood stained butcher’s apron. It was she who taught me about both empire and the slavery it created both overseas and here in Scotland and how the union was a capitalist money making scheme designed to feed the pockets of the rich and powerful elites. It was she who said that when it came to chicanery Britain had no equals. Britannia she said didn’t just rule the waves it waived the rules to benefit the few at the expense of the many and the real travesty was the Labour Party had bought in to a system which would do those who supported it no favours.
So as I reflect on this May Day it is with pride and humility I can say to those socialists my grandmother Jessie MacDonald Robertson, my uncle Thomas Ingram Russell, and my dad John James Smith our time has come and I will not be found wanting. Over the next four months I will do all I can to bring the banner home and make sure I remember to bring real democracy with it. Not for me the Braveheart nationalism of Hollywood movies, I am not interested in flags and banners outside Celtic Park, Hampden Park, or Murrayfield. As far as I am concerned sport is a form of entertaining and such has different rules to reality. However as I get back to the real world I remember the things that really matter and the values that shaped me and still do.
Those values were both Christian and socialist which is why I spent international workers campaigning for the change I believe our nation needs to build that better society I and many others want to achieve. I spent May Day fighting for a better Scotland a more international Scotland whose values views and visions will shape a not only a better tomorrow but a better world. I want independence because an independent international Scotland can and will score more goals for humanity than we will as a bit part substitute in dis united kingdom. I want independence not because I believe I am better than anyone, I want it because I believe I’m the equal of everyone.
Love And Best Wishes