This Saturday in Edinburgh will see the first of three marches and rallies in our capital city in the run up to the independence referendum. The importance of this first march in terms of getting supporters to become ‘activists’ for Yes Scotland in their local streets, workplaces, universities and college’s cannot be played down. For many people this will be the first march they have ever went on which in itself will be an exciting prospect.
However, for the vast majority it will be the first time they have publicly showed they support independence out with the ballot box. It is in my opinion Saturday will give those campaigning virgins the confidence to become keen and committed activists who will win hundreds of votes in their area. For many years the support of an independent Scotland has been downplayed as being naive, utopian and downright idiotic. The march on Saturday will show those who harbour pro-independence feelings it is the complete opposite from the above. They will be surrounded by comrades of all ages and all walks of life from around these isles. It will give them the self-confidence to stand up and declare their support for independence and why the person questioning them should do so also. Without a shadow of a doubt the independence referendum will not be won by Alex Salmond or any other particular politician. Yes their impact on things such as televised debates will, perhaps, shift support a little either way. However the vast majority of votes will be won by friends and family discussing why they support one particular side of the argument. This was recognised by Yes Scotland when it declared it aims to be
“…the biggest community-based campaign in Scotland’s history”
There is no one you trust more than a friend or family member. Although polls show we trust Hollyrood politicians far more than Westminster based politicians there will always be an element of mistrust towards them irrespective of how honest they have been in the past. You are far more likely to be influenced by your brother’s thoughts and opinions than Nicola Sturgeon’s. Although I am a huge fan of Nicola may I hasten to add. On a more human basis you are far more likely to be moved one way or another through face to face conversations as opposed to a face on the television or a voice on the radio. This basic interaction between people is so crucial to convincing people that Scottish people should control its own destiny. In addition to the trust and interaction factors the benefit of a grass roots campaign is also in the repetitiveness of the message being put across on a far more frequent basis. Through chats about the morning headlines in the office to discussion down the pub only grass roots activism can really penetrate into the living rooms of Scotland. Over the next years this will be going on across the nation and that is why it is crucial that Saturday boosts the confidence of Yes Scotland supporters to not just vote yes but campaign for it.
Even if we take the lowest number in the British Attitudes Survey on independence which is 32% then we only need to convince 18.01% to win. In a space of two years that can be done and I am fully confident we will do it. The poll also showed that people are more receptive to the idea of the Scottish Parliament having ‘all powers’ in other words independence. This clearly identifies how Yes Scotland will need to campaign to secure a majority ‘Yes’ vote in 2014.
Come and join thousands of fellow Scots on Saturday.