Labour voters moving to Yes

“MY FRIDGE MAGNETS TOLD ME TO VOTE ‘NO’”: the new face of Better Together, aka ‘Patronising BT Lady’, has heralded in a disastrous time for the No camp

by Alan Bissett Here we are going into the last fortnight of the long campaign for Scottish independence and things are now very exciting indeed. The latest poll, from the No-friendly YouGov, places Yes at 47 per cent and No at 53 per cent, a massive swing of 8 per cent from their last poll, making victory for Yes very much possible. Even Better Together cheerleaders the Daily Mail are describing the result of as being ‘on a knife edge’.

During the last TV debate with Alex Salmond, an under-pressure Alistair Darling admitted that ‘of course Scotland could use the pound’, putting to rest a central falsehood of the No campaign. Better Together’s advert targeting the female vote – in which a woman, filmed in the kitchen, claims not to care about politics and fails to remember the First Minister’s name – alienated Yes, No and Undecided women alike for its patronising tone.

It is a measure of how Better Together have been depending upon political apathy that they’re now using meaningless platitudes such as, ‘I love Scotland, I’m voting No’ and ‘I love my kids, I’m voting No’. But the No campaign has also taken a rather sinister turn. Aware that the UK might be slipping from their grasp, some supporters have been lashing out – literally – with reports emerging of physical violence against Yes activists. These have been largely ignored by the media, who prefer to magnify complaints from Labour’s Jim Murphy about being hit by an egg.

Murphy’s ludicrous talk of ‘co-ordinated attack mobs’ and the No campaign’s predictions of ‘absolute carnage’ on Scottish streets have meant a public rebuke from the Scottish Police Federation for ‘intemperate, inflammatory and exaggerated language’. Now that all of their arguments have been dispelled, Better Together are now simply trying to make the whole debate appear toxic and off-putting to the public. Even the police are recognising this tactic.Yes, instead of trying to fight dirty, has been quietly building up the largest mass movement in Scotland’s history.

Aware that the potential for change lies within the Scottish working-class, who have been long-alienated from by right-wing UK governments, the Radical Independence Campaign have been out encouraging people on housing schemes and in job centres queues to register.

Groups like the Scottish Socialist Party and Labour For Independence, whose values have remained intact, have been successful at targeting those disaffected by Labour’s drift to the right. The same recent YouGov poll has seen support for independence rise by 12 per cent among Labour voters in the last month, as the left-wing tone of the Yes movement becomes clearer by the day.

Ideas which have been off the political agenda for generations – nuclear disarmament, the nationalisation of industry, anti-privatisation, wealth redistribution and social housing – are now on everyone’s lips, and it is increasingly obvious to voters which result is most likely to deliver these.

Labour, meanwhile, are spending their energies fighting against the largest political awakening of working-class people that Scotland has ever known, on behalf of our rulers. The media and No voters like to moan about how ‘divided’ the country has become – as though politics never is – but the Yes movement has seen a mass of diverse peoples working together for the first time with a huge amount of bonhomie and determination. It is proof of what can happen when the left unites: we can win.

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