It’s people’s power versus London elites in indy battle

MASS CANVASS: at the RIC event on 22 June, nearly 1000 canvassers polled 8317 people in 46 areas, returning a result of 40 per cent Yes, 29.5 per cent No and 30.5 per cent undecided

by Ken Ferguson, editor, Scottish Socialist Voice Despite the two year long negative scare campaign run by the unionists in Better Together, as we pass midsummer and close on the historic 18 September referendum Yes campaigners remain optimistic and focused.

A glance at the motley band now officially backing the No camp from Tory toffs through Labour time servers to the Orange Order, tells it’s own story of its real nature as a support campaign for an outdated vision of a society which suits the political and financial elites it serves.
As far as the three unionists parties, Labour, Tory and the Lib Dems are concerned one of their key motivators is more a concern for the survival of their comfortable world than real concern for the Scots who elect them.
London-based veteran comedian Stanley Baxter, backing a No vote, said “South of the border’s been very good to me. I’m very happy in London”.
It might have been said by any of the Scots unionist MPs who have spent the last two years lecturing their electors on why they must stick with Westminster with an escalating list of increasingly incredible scares and downright lies.

Of course the truth is that the UK is run by a parliament elected on undemocratic voting system which guarantees that, whoever wins, policies remain big business and banker friendly with only mild differences in tone between the so called mainstream parties.
It was against this reality that, in the latest foray north of the border by a Westminster “Big Beast” Miliband’s “vision” of a No-voting Scotland at the heart of a supposedly renewed and progressive UK had, as one respected commentator said “the impact of a blancmange hitting concrete”.
Back on planet Scotland, Labour voters increasingly know that Miliband’s chances of winning a Westminster election are diminishingly small and even if he did, he plans to continue with cuts and austerity.
Ranged against this dismal prospect is the highly motivated, broad based and, crucially, mass Yes campaign offering a real vision of real change informed by a growing consensus for a socially just greener Scotland.
This message has been taken out to communities the length and breadth of Scotland in public meetings, debates, street stalls, leafleting and canvassing not to mention thousands of person to person discussions with family, friends and workmates.
Backing this up has been the key development of a diverse and vibrant internet based campaigning with not only sites such as Newsnet Scotland and Bella Caledonia but thousands of individual postings on social media.
What has emerged is that a No campaign largely funded by bosses and Tory money and relying on the old centralised campaign model feeding a tame media scares and smears – including, shamefully the publicly funded BBC – has met a genuine, nimble peoples’ response.
Described by none other than former city banker and New Labour minister Baroness Shriti Vadera as led by “grumpy old men” Better Together has responded simply by increasingly hysterical scares and utilised state power in London to tell lies about Scotland.
High summer is normally a time for holidays and relaxation but this is unlikely to see the mass Yes camp scaling down its activities in the weeks between now and 18 September.
For the SSP, the Scottish Socialist Voice and the wider left, the task remains to overcome the fear driven politics of the No camp and win over those absolutely key Labour voters who have been taken for granted by their party and used as voting fodder for the Westminster careerists.
In public meetings and canvassing it is clear that such voters are increasingly receptive to the message that a Yes vote is not a vote for the SNP but a vote that opens the door to a different approach which is in line with their aspirations.
Crucial to this task will be mobilising the so called “missing million” of non-voters, traditionally described as apathetic, or worse demonised as lazy and feckless by comfortable commentators paid well by posh papers.
Increasingly however in campaigning, particularly in Scotland’s deprived areas, another reality is revealed. The cynical city-serving years of Blair and Brown increasingly abandoned such potential voters and reinforced a “they are all the same” scorn for politicians.

Energy and belief
Rather than apathy, non-voting has a range of concrete reasons such as fear of debt collectors using the voter register to pursue Council Tax arrears but at its heart it is founded on a hard headed, evidence based, belief that voting changes nothing.
If the energy and belief of the Yes campaign can convince those voters that this vote on 18 September can lead to change and convince people to translate this into voting then despite the long poll lead for the No camp a Yes vote can be won.
With those most reliable pollster Ladbrokes predicting a 78 per cent turnout, this is a realistic objective and could see a peoples’ campaign defeat the politics of fear, war and greed ranged under the increasingly threadbare Union Jack.

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