Yes. It’s a tiny word with a lot of power; a word which hopefully will change the course of Scotland’s future come September, when we answer the question “should Scotland be an independent country?”
I will be voting Yes to independence on September 18th. So will many, many others – current opinion polls (a crude indication, but the best we have) have placed the Yes vote as tantalisingly close to winning. With little over a month to go, convincing the remaining “Don’t Know’s” will win the referendum.
But what can we all do to help push Yes over the line? Not all of us can get out and canvass door-to-door, speak at events, or staff the stalls giving out information. We can all still play a part though.
Personally I think the most effective and simple thing we can all do is proudly show our voting intention. If we “normalise” the idea of voting Yes – show that support for Yes is large, it’s everywhere, and it’s not just some small, fringe group (or only SNP supporters) – many of the undecided voters will begin to wonder what it is about Yes they might have missed up to now. The more they look into why they should vote Yes, I believe the more likely they will be to vote Yes on the day.
So wear Yes badges everywhere you can. Put one on your jacket, and put one on your bag. Wear a Yes t-shirt when out and about. Display Yes stickers and posters prominently – on windows, laptops, notepads… anywhere likely to be seen (just don’t go sticking them on someone else’s property!). If we all did this it would surround undecided voters in a sea of Yes support, and show it’s everyday people who are the Yes Movement, not the politicians or media. We would show how much momentum there is behind the idea of a better Scotland.
Badges and posters alone will not sway most people, but increased awareness will prompt many to ask questions, and more importantly, to strike up conversations with Yes supporters to find out why we’re all voting for independence. This is the crucial bit. This is where we will win – so brush up on some of the key points. You don’t have to know everything, but knowing where to point people to more information is just as useful whether it’s an online source, or an event/stall/friend with more knowledge.
As a bonus, not only will proudly showing your support for a Yes vote help engage with the “Don’t Know’s” it will give confidence to other Yes voters who might be keeping their voting intentions to themselves. By letting them know they are not alone you will encourage them to engage publicly with the debate and perhaps convince some more people over to Yes.
(It’s obvious, but worth stating anyway – always be polite, courteous and as accommodating as possible when engaging with anyone in the referendum debate. Many people have legitimate worries about independence which won’t always be assuaged in one conversation. Remember that you’re only one angry tweet away from being the next “nasty CyberNat” story in the Daily Mail.)
Personally speaking I’ve been wearing a small Yes badge on my jacket lapel for a couple of months now, and recently got myself a Green Yes t-shirt. It’s sparked conversations with colleagues, friends of friends, even the barista at Starbucks, all of whom have said what I told them was making them think about their positions. When I placed a Yes window sticker in a street-facing window of my house, there was my house and one car in the street with anything on show. Now there’s 3 houses, 4 cars, and a few more houses just around the corner. I don’t claim credit for the increase at all, but I believe that the more of us show our support, the more others will as well.
We’ve all got a part to play in the referendum, so why not start with something small and simple which could make a big difference?