Park the agendas, there is only one

All around Scotland, people are going to extraordinary lengths to help deliver a Yes vote.

There’s the woman I know who works long hours hundreds of miles from home, who uses travel time to organise stuff and then every weekend at home, doing stuff.  There’s the man I met out at a mass canvass over from France for five weeks at his own expense and the young woman who turned up at a Yes stall from Canada, having jacked her job in to spend the summer in Scotland, campaigning.

There are folk using up every available bit of unpaid and paid leave from work to play their part.  Some have put their businesses on the back burner so they can spend as much time as possible campaigning.  There are the retireds, who have put in a lifetime of work, now spending all day, every day out on the stump, putting many younger folk to shame. And the folk who juggle work, home and campaigning? How they manage it I do not know.

There are friends of a friend who all work in overseas development who have arranged leave to be back for the last couple of weeks and vitally, to vote. And there are folk who have clocked up ridiculous amounts of road miles, criss crossing Scotland to speak at public meetings in venues big and small, just so they can reach another undecided voter.

It’s incredible and it’s humbling.

But then there are the ones sitting on their arses doing hee-haw.  And the ones who should be doing way much more than they are.  And if what I’m about to say strikes me off their Christmas card lists for ever, well I was probably never on them to begin with.

There are those who think it enough to be a member of the SNP.  I recall doing the phone round to check folk’s availability for polling day in 1997 and being told by two members that they were planning to go to a flower show that day and couldn’t help.  There are plenty like them:  SNP members, some of whom have paid their dues for decades, who have never been seen in a campaign, ever.  But then, this isn’t just any campaign: it’s the campaign to deliver the fundamental purpose of the SNP.  So you’d think that they’d all be doing everything they can to help deliver a Yes vote?  A wee leaflet delivered?  A window poster up?  Time spent aff social media and out there engaging with voters in the real world? Nah.  If anyone can explain the psychology of it all to me, I’d be obliged.

But there’s worse.

There are SNP folk in elected positions who are a rare and endangered species of campaigner, often turning up just for the photocall rather than the graft.  Or for the last ten minutes to greet all the actual campaigners returning from a work session and glad hand them.  Now, I know how hard it is to be an MSP, MP or councillor.  The hours we expect our politicians to put in are ridiculous.  Many councillors, in particular, are still trying to hold down jobs and occasionally, also have a semblance of family life.  And there are those elected representatives who live to campaign and have undoubtedly put in as many, if not more hours than their activists in the independence referendum.  Some of you have literally spent your entire adult lives getting us to this point. I know who you are, you know who you are and you are all amazing.  But we all know who the other ones are too. And get this, other ones, we are all talking about you and there are few compliments.

So my advice is this.  There are two aims of SNP membership; the furtherance of all Scottish interests, which you serve well in your elected capacity, and independence for Scotland.  Some of you appear to have forgotten about this one somewhere along the way.  There are five weeks in which to rediscover your raison d’etre and get out there with your local Yes group and work like a dog to find every yes vote and every undecided.  Because here’s the thing:  based on your performance this summer – if Nicola Sturgeon, the Depute First Minister, didn’t think it appropriate to have a summer holiday, I’m not sure why you felt the need – some of you will be struggling to get re-selected, never mind re-elected.

Then there are the Yes folk for whom imagining a better Scotland has become all consuming. Apparently, no matter what happens on 18 September, Scotland has changed forever.  And this requires some to be engaged in supposedly secret discussions about what they do next.  Well, I’ve news for you.  We all know what’s going on and if you really think that Scotland will change with a no vote on 18 September, you’re not nearly as clever as I thought you were.  Somewhere, your involvement in this campaign has become all about you and not about Scotland.  So stop plotting,  planning and preening and focus on the main prize.  There will only be spoils to go around if there’s a Yes vote.

And there will only be a Yes vote if everyone gets out there talking to undecided voters and the switherers.  Because most of them want to vote Yes.  They just need to be reassured that it’s the right thing to do, and that can only happen by listening to them and helping them arrive openly at the decision they are nurturing deep within.  Scottish voters are no daft.  If they sense that the Yes lot are just in it for themselves, then they’ll conclude that we are just as bad as the lot who control Scotland now from faraway Westminster and the institutions which hold power closer to home that keep them in their place.  And they’ll opt for the devil they know and vote No. So cancel the meetings and the chats and go and do something more useful instead.  Like chap a door.

Because until and unless everyone parks their agendas, then the main one – the only one – is compromised.  And how we could have arrived at this point, where folk who claim to support the cause of Scotland’s independence, have other priorities more compelling than this, is beyond me.

It’s not enough to believe in independence.  Like fairies, it won’t magically appear if we all just clap our hands and chant.  Nor is it enough to imagine a better Scotland.  If we want it to happen, we have to get out there and make it so.  This referendum is far from lost.  The polls are not telling the whole story but you will only know that if you are out there engaging with voters.

A Yes vote is within touching distance, but we will only cross the line if everyone is focused on achieving it and putting in every spare minute of every day doing whatever they can to reach the voters who just need a little encouragement to trust their hearts, their instincts and yes, their heads.  And that’s at least a quarter of the electorate. Still.

So, I’ll say it once more, just in case the point got lost.  Park your agendas, for there is only one.  For the next 47 days, everything else can wait.





9 thoughts on “Park the agendas, there is only one

  1. Well said and thanks.

  2. hello my name is kev. most of important thing an indpendant Scotland is a chance to get equaillty for all no matter what ur circumstances are. would not agree with that? to be honest you couldn’t possibly disagree am I right? YES is your answer. so why do you thinkyou have the god giving right to disrespect people who are what a call u cybernat ,who made you judge an jury , totally out of touch and out of order, well I use twitter my page yes ambassador moody to 600 odd strangers who I have never met and they havent met me either so that make me a cyberbat just sitting on there arse doing nothing, I have also went out leafleting once with yesglenrothes and I took my 7 year old daughter with me so you are saying i should have done more aswell, doing that with daughter was a moment in mylife to teach her values, an important thing to me as parent wanting a better equality of life in a free Scotland your attitude stinks and is exactly the kind of attitude that should be banished from Scotland for ever just like the tories, outside of being a cybernat , guess what? I am real and people don’t call me yes ambassador moody ,its kevin moody father of two usually seen tweeting away with a baby in one arm and the fone in the other. am also the first born and oldest of nine sibling I have abot 1826 wee cousins lol, a very big family all round with that alone I would have surpassed the 100 registered voters then theres all of my friends I have that’s a lot by the way and guess what where I come from people tend to laugh at you when u mention politics, I am living proof of that I am a first time voter. this time last year I would have said get urself to fuckoff if you told me I would be typing this right now, win or lose a new politics has dawn an the old is sinkin fast this new dawns not going anyware its not about wat u have done wat matters is how you did it, say what you want have a tantrum sounds like attention seeing to me but you can never take away doing things in our own personal way that’s wat gives us equality with out that equality cant begin.

  3. Kate, are you referring to National Collective when you mention those who are imagining a better Scotland? Are you saying they are not doing enough campaigning? Also, is the reference to secret discussions about the newspaper story on the potential formation of a Common Weal type party, which Robin McAlpine has denied in a Bella Caledonia article?

  4. Reblogged this on charlesobrien08 and commented:
    Says it much better than me.

  5. Aye and there are some of us who wished we were fit enough to run about,like me,cant manage 10 steps,on high Morphine with a damaged spine.I could greet at not being able to get out and about,I do manage the branch meetings most of the time,and feel like a wooden member.When I was fit and able (about 6 years ago) I worked long hours,and for 36 years I was a chef never getting home the same day that I left for work(not a complaint it was my choice)14 hour days were normal for me,wish I had half the energy and staying power I had 20 years ago.I ran my own places for several years,and when I had enough,I went into private hire taxis and that was just as bad.I often comment on FB that whoever is out there do an extra door for me,thanks to all who do manage to get out and deliver the message,like how the largest ever oil field is West of Shetland and is not being released till after September I am grateful to all who are helping to make the dream/ambition come true.We must win a yes vote we need independence.

  6. I have been at many meetings over the last couple of years and without doubt there is more enthusiasm shown at non SNP ones where many are working for a fairer future and have more idea about the problems faced by folk today.
    Too many enjoy current system of devolved power at hoyrood however limited it is. We may only have one chance of victory so it must be taken

  7. Spot on article – I was responsible for the 2012 & 2013 March & Rally.
    The further up the SNP chain I went the harder it was to get co-operation – the excuses I heard for the difficulty to get a coach organised from an SNP branch was pitiful.

    In the end it was down to party members who cared enough to ensure the events were well attended – those treasurers/branch conveners etc were (with a few notable exceptions) lazy and indifferent. Much cajoling and shaming was needed and even then some missed the boat (bus).

    I had many SNP folk try to get me to ditch Kate as a speaker – I resisted and to my regret I only wish I had put her on before Alex Salmond.

    There is an almost intolerant religious-like fever about some SNP supporters which manifests into a concerted attack on anyone who questions or disagrees with their policies or approach – I could say more but until 19/09/14 for sake of the referendum I shan’t.

    Suffice to say I resigned being a party member last week – at 53 and a lifelong supporter and just ahead of a referendum this was no light decision on my behalf.

    Never judge a book by its cover because who might appear the enemy isn’t and vice-versa!

  8. I have often criticised you for being too much the soft Nat but this is a very good piece with which I wholeheartedly agree. But you should also have had a real go at those who claim to be YES but do little else on social media but slag off their fellow YES supporters, particularly Stu Campbell at Wings. No-one on the YES side does as much work as he does for the YES campaign and I doubt if we would be where we are now without his constant defenestration of NO lies and mis/disinformation in the media.

    Also a bit more positivity would be desirable, the polls are definitely NOT telling the whole story, so in my view this Referendum is nearly won not…”This referendum is far from lost.” See

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