Hey everyone As I look back on my week on the stump I have to say it’s a mixture of bizarre and the brilliant but such is life in the busiest and most hectic campaign I have ever experienced.
On Monday whilst busy in town I came across some Better Together activists who were out leafleting in the Buchanan Street area of Glasgow. Now when I met Better Together campaigners I mean they actually were real ones. This was I believe the first time in the two and a half years of this campaign that I had met any who were not attending LGBTI Pride. Yes seriously this was the first time I had actually met real ones. To be fair most of them were perfectly pleasant to me though there was I think one stand out amongst their number a fiery wee character by the name of Alison Clark-Dick.
Alison came to my attention as she berated one of our yes voters who was bombarding her with facts and figures which he said proved the case for independence and Alison was equally insistent they did not. At one time this debate looked like it could get seriously heated as she accused her opponent of being deluded.
It was on hearing this that I decided to step in and have a wee chat with Alison and give this articulate and intelligent young women a basic talk on the rules of canvassing. I told her in gentle but firms terms there are things you don’t say when you are campaigning and one is using inflammatory comments like deluded when you are trying to make your point. Not only does this fail to make your point it actually entrenches your opponent in to their existing position.
During our chat Alison said that she was fed up being demonised as a tory bitch. I said that she was charming and chatty and was definitely not a bitch. However naming Ruth Davidson as one of your favourite politicians does tend to suggest Conservative sympathies. I even went as far as to suggest she should join the party with which she undoubtedly has the strongest identification and not take the same route as more dishonest political hacks such as Anas Sarwar and Ian Davidson who only joined the Labour Party because they knew the Tories were not a good choice for their self motivated obsession to have a political career no matter what.
I have to say Alison seemed taken aback by my comments but respected my honesty though she said she couldn’t understand why I and so many like me hated Westminster as much as we did. I reminded her of the fact that Scotland is a nation and not as loyal unionists see us a region of greater England. I therefore despise the idea of getting governments we not only didn’t elect but would never elect. I also said that we were the first country ever to discover oil and get poorer and we did this not in spite of the fact we were under Westminster’s watch but because we were under Westminster’s watch.
Continuing my attack I then moved on to Trident and the fact it was and still is considered too dangerous to be located anywhere in England but it was fine to put these weapons of mass destruction only 25 miles from the biggest city in Scotland. I also cited troubles in Iraq and in the six counties of occupied Ulster as other reasons why Westminster could not be trusted. Anyway chat over we parted on friendly terms and I went home for a quick freshen up before heading to Stereo for last National Collective meeting before the referendum but there will be more of that later.
Next stop was Wednesday this turned out to be a really eventful day. I had started the morning with intentions of going canvassing but I arrived at the Yes Shettleston shop just as everyone was leaving and was given instructions to find out what I could do around the office. On Arriving I noticed that one of my favourite yes campaigners and one of my favourite people Carlton Councillor Alison Thewliss was working hard inputting data. As Alison had her two children four year old Alexander and one year old Kirsty.
As a former volunteer youth worker I thought I could keep Alexander occupied and let his highly likable mum get on with her work. This however turned out to be much harder work than canvassing as Alexander is a lovely but mischievous wee soul with a highly enquiring mind which needs to be kept occupied Fortunately I was able to draw on all my creative skills to ensure that Alexander was kept busy and his mum allowed to get on to get on her work.
Eventually job done I left the office and went to the flash ceilidh at George Square at which handed out a couple of hundred Women for Independence leaflets whilst listening to the music and singing along to the songs of Citizen Smart. This is what I call creative multi-tasking being taken for a whole new level. It was a brilliant way to spend to a lovely sunny afternoon.
As I was getting ready to leave the square and start on my journey home I bumped in to my friend and fellow poetic patriot Michael McLaughlan who asked me if I wanted a ride in the truth mobile. This is a kind of open top carriage which Michael has been driving round the streets of Glasgow to encourage people to vote yes to independence. Naturally I needed no second invitation and jumped at the chance to get some VIP treatment and for the next hour and half I was getting driven all over Glasgow city centre to encourage people to think about voting Yes. This was life in the lap of luxury and I was in the mood to milk it so all of a sudden and I don’t know why I started doing the royal wave. Well I figured out if it’s good enough for old Lizzie then it’s good enough for me.
Reaction to the truth mobile was generally good natured with lots of our supporters giving us smiles and thumbs up signs and we even picked up passengers along the way and gave them a chance to come aboard for a while. There was however one particularly nasty incident just as we about drop a young women off at her selected venue of the central station when an arrogant lout with more wind than brain cells shouted arse holes at us. Now I have to say that I have no problem with opponents expressing their opinion about our cause and as a seasoned campaigner I am used to this by now. However I feel that it would better if these people were intelligent enough to express their thoughts in a more articulate way.
You see although I had no worries for myself or Michael the young woman passenger was an undecided voter who having started this referendum as a no voter was after having done her research veering towards yes. After having given her some reading material to research the case for yes I think she was on the road towards yes. I do have to say however that this journey will have made a significant contribution to her delivering a yes vote on Thursday.
I say this because as myself and Michael supplied her with information and answers to questions all our opponents could give her were insults. I asked her to remember this when entering the polling booth on decision day. As she left us she smiled and said that the fact someone had insulted her for no reason may just have made her decision a whole lot easier than it may otherwise have been.
Indeed I think I can safely say she went from a probable yes to a certain one from moment she heard his abuse. It is with this in mind I feel I have to issue a memo to unionists. This is not how you win friends and influence people, and as I ended another few interesting days on the stump which were both interesting and challenging I confirm a view which I have long held. This is that there are many ways in which I can be of use to Team Scotland in this campaign. These include babysitting, singing songs and offering the hand of friendship. However I know as all campaigners do that playing the insults game is not the way to stop your train of thought. This is especially true when that train is the freedom express.
Love And Best Wishes