So, two weeks to go. All these years and months and we are nearly there.
Isn’t it exciting? Scotland’s people get to choose their future in fourteen days. But getting folk to actually vote takes more than hope and crossing fingers. Both sides – Yes and No – are working on their Get Out the Vote plans.
There are those of us who have been planning a lifetime for Referendum day.
Many have been working towards this day ever since it was announced by the First Minister. The hours they have spent getting us to this point cannot properly be quantified.
But even among the most ardent Yes supporters, there will be many who do not realise how important the day is itself. Nor the work and effort that will be required to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) for Yes. If you are an ordinary person, enthused and brought into politics by the prospect of voting Yes, if you have never been involved in a political campaign before, then you still might not realise that we need you.
The Yes campaign needs everyone who is voting Yes and who supports a Yes vote to get involved and help. So never mind planning where you are going to be on the night and who you are going to be watching the results with. Forget planning for a carnival atmosphere (win or lose), there is work to be done before that. And we need you.
You can help with your local GOTV activity. If you can, get the day off work so you can help on the ground. I won’t bore you with details here, but everyone can do and contribute something.
If you can’t get the day off, can you help in the evening (or even before work in the morning, or if you work shifts, before you go to work)? The polls are open 7am to 10pm – there’s stuff to be done every minute of every hour and it needs people to help do it. Even if you can only spare an hour, that will make a difference.
So, if you can help your local Yes team, contact them. Most have Facebook groups and/or twitter accounts and are easy to find. Or use Yes Scotland Events to track down activity in your area (there’s no need to wait until the 18th to get involved!) Most of these events also have local contact details – they’ll be delighted to hear from you. Trust me!
But if you can’t get off work or don’t want to be “out there” helping, here’s what you can do, largely from home, in these last two precious weeks and on polling day itself.
- make a list of all your family and friends you know who are still undecided or swithering on how to vote; contact them, have a conversation, tell them why you’re voting Yes, encourage them to ask questions, point them towards information
- if you have lots of undecided friends or neighbours, organise an “at home” – get them all over to yours to enjoy good company, convivial atmosphere and get them talking; make sure you have information available they can take away with them;
- next weekend, why not turn your world Yes? it’s only for a few days but we need everyone who is Yes to say it loud and proud; so poster every window, get stickers on your car, wear a Yes badge everywhere you go (but not to places where you’ll get in trouble or upset folk) and on Referendum day put balloons up, anything and everything you can do, do to create colour; most local Yes campaigns now have shops and street stalls where you can pick these things up
- and while you’re getting stuff for yourself, get extra and share it with neighbours, friends and family who are also voting Yes – encourage them in the last week before we go to vote, to say Yes loud and proud
- now make a list of all your family and friends you know who are voting Yes; on the Monday or Tuesday before we vote, email and phone them; remind them how important it is that they go and vote Yes on 18th; check to see if anyone you know needs a lift to go and vote
- on Referendum Day itself, vote early – the polls open at 7am and tell everyone you know through social media that you’ve voted Yes and why you’ve voted Yes; encourage like minded friends and family to do the same and use your social media to remind everyone you know to go and vote
- your list of family and friends you contacted earlier in the week? Contact them again today, just to check that they have all been to vote, do it at teatime, that way if they haven’t been yet, there is still time to encourage them out the door (or go round and get them yourself and take them!)
The point of this wee list is that we can all do something to make sure Scotland votes Yes on 18 September. Even if you stay away from the campaigns themselves – it’s okay we won’t be offended – and do your own thing, there is something each and everyone of us can do.
So between now and Referendum Day, set aside just an hour to do at least, some of what is listed above. It will make all the difference and it will help change our lives forever.