Where The Work Needs Done

Edited from the original to respect Shetlander sensibilities.

Looking at the official results of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum and Ballot Box Scotland’s quick mockup of the recent Ashcroft Poll is illuminating in some ways. Obviously, the place the work needs done is “Scotland.” But let’s have a wee bit of fun.

Aye, I hate looking at it too, but if I have to suffer so do you.

Obviously we can’t be sure that this change, if representative of the result in a speculative independence referendum which happened right now (which, it should be noted, omitted 16 & 17-year-olds and EU citizens, two small but crucial demographics who you’d imagine would push Yes even further into the lead), is as clear cut as a uniform swing would suggest: as with the first referendum, places expected to vote No at the start of the campaign voted Yes, and the reverse – so it’s certainly possible that some places that voted No by a fair margin in 2014 might show a much bigger change.

Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, Dundee, & North Lanarkshire all seem solidly Yes, and to a greater degree than in 2014. These places will be crucial as bases for “Get The Vote Out” (GTVO), where we have to get as many independence supporters to register & vote to bolster the national result. We cannot allow a repeat of 2014, where low turnout in the two biggest Yes constituencies undermined the national result. With pro-independence-led councils in all but one, we should have a better shot of increasing the turnout in the four most pro-independence constituencies.

In addition, a uniform swing suggests that the knife-edge of my home Inverclyde & the close-run result of my good neighbours North Ayrshire & Arran are now well into the 55%+ threshold. That both these constituencies displayed some of the biggest swings to the SNP outside Glasgow in the 2015 & 2016 elections, as well as some of the highest Remain votes in the whole of the UK, adds further evidence of a Yes majority in these constituencies. Unfortunately, both constituencies are controlled by anti-independence councils (albeit minorities), so our work will still be tough: even when a pro-independence party was had the greatest percentage of votes, it isn’t enough when the anti-independence parties team up to help each other out.

So we have the Caereni, Cornavii, Smertae, Lugi, Decandae, Carnonacae, Creones, Caledonii, most of the Dumnonii, the southern Vacomagi & Venicones, and the western Votadini for independence, but we still need to convince the northern Vacomagi & Venicones, the eastern Votadini, the Epidii, Taezali, Selgovae, and Novantae to unite against the Romans!

Rounding out the areas that could vote Yes in a uniform swing are Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Midlothian, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Fife, Angus, the Highlands, and Na h-Eileanan Siar. Of these, Clackmannanshire, East Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Fife, Falkirk, & South Lanarkshire have pro-independence-led councils, while Angus, Midlothian, West Lothian, & the Highlands have anti-independence-led coalitions. Na h-Eileanan Siar, being their usual selves, have a council peculiar to their isles.

Now we move to the places we need to convince. Argyll & Bute, South Ayrshire, Stirling, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Aberdeen, and Moray are all just short of the Yes line. We have a good shot in places with independence-led councils like Edinburgh, South Ayrshire, & Stirling, while the anti-independence alliances in Argyll & Bute, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Perth & Kinross, and Moray will make things more difficult.

Finally, there are what I call the Occupied Territories – East Dunbartonshire, Perth & Kinross, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, Shetland, East Renfrewshire, Dumfries & Galloway, and the Scottish Borders. These are the places which are deeply rooted in Scottish History which have been hijacked by anti-independence forces (i.e. the UK Government Party & their cohorts).

Wait, no, we have the Picts of Cat, Fidach, Fib, & Circind, the northern Kingdom of Strathclyde, & western Din Eidyn, but need to persuade the Picts of Ce, Fotla, & Fortriu, as well as Dalriada, Selcovia, Caer Wenddoleu, eastern Din Eidyn, southern Strathclyde, & Gododdin to stop the Norsemen!

It sickens me to the core. East Dunbartonshire, home of Thomas Muir & Tom Johnston, the easternmost stretches of the Lennox and the border wall between Freedom and Empire; Perth & Kinross, site of Scotland’s most ancient capital & the heartland of Alba; Aberdeenshire, realm of the Northern Picts & northernmost reaches of old Alba; East Renfrewshire, the eastern marches of William Wallace’s own homeland; Orkney, centre of prehistoric Caledonian religion; Shetland, window into Scotland’s prehistoric past; Dumfries & Galloway, so formative to the lives of Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns; the Scottish Borders, who had to fight harder than any other Scottish people to remain Scottish against the depredations of southern kings.

It is disgusting & perverse to me that these places so vital to Scotland’s identity, who contributed to so much to our collective soul, have been targeted & controlled by those who seek to exploit & undermine our nation. And why shouldn’t they? The most effective way to control a populace is to take command of their genius loci, the points of political, economic, and cultural power. The most “Scottish” places in Scotland are in the hands of those who’d deny our national self-determination.

We can’t just abandon them, leave them to the UK Government Party and their minions. We have to take them back. It’s as simple as that.

… Och, away ye go.

I often recall that anecdote from the early days of the Yes Campaign: you won’t get Inverclyde. Best you can hope for is to shore up as much support as you can to contribute to the national result. All eyes were on the big cities, the SNP strongholds, the places people expected to vote Yes. This approach simply isn’t good enough. We must aim to get every constituency in Scotland over the line – including the Islands, including the Borders, including the North East. I don’t particularly care if folk say it’s impossible, it can’t be done: if that’s your attitude, it will stay impossible. Shoot for the moon, and all that. Plus, we know that it is possible for every constituency in Scotland to vote as one.

So much easier when it’s just Scotland.

Manage expectations, absolutely. But our aim is to get as many people on the side of Scotland as we can, no matter how difficult or unlikely it is. Don’t put an upper limit. Don’t abandon parts of Scotland which are there to be saved.

3 thoughts on “Where The Work Needs Done

  1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    This is an interesting and worthwhile exercise. You have stated the assumptions you have made, such as assuming uniform swing. It is essentially, indicative, of how things might be in the light of the recent poll and the trend of other recent polling.

    To a fair extent, it shows where I and others think are the areas in which support for independence is strongest and areas where a switch from NO to YES needs the fewest switchers. Probably this also confirms my bias and opinion!

    Of course, within each area there will be variation.Within East Dunbartonshire, for example, I suspect that Kirkintilloch might well be more ‘Yes’ than neighbouring Lenzie and that in West Dunbartonshire, Milngavie and Bearsden will tend towards ‘No’ more than in Clydebank and Dumbarton.

    I was somewhat discomfited by your comments based on the history of particular areas, such as your comment about being ‘sicken[ed] to the core’, with regard to the ‘home of Thomas Muir’ leaning towards ‘No’. Opinions do not reside in the land, they reside in the people and populations have always had a measure of mobility. There are economic and social reasons why particular groups live on the fringes of, but not within Glasgow. I know a number of people in the ‘home of Thomas Muir’ who subscribe strongly to his views and actively maintain the memory. So, I think you need to temper your visceral language.

    As many of us suspected, support for independence amongst Labour voters is showing an increase. Those who have ‘come out’ have probably wrestled with conflicting feelings of self-determination and class solidarity. I suspect that having made the switch some will be wondering if they have done the right thing – that is the way many of us are. So, hostile language could have the effect of switching some people back. Amongst Tory voters in Scotland there is markedly less support for the PM than elsewhere in the UK. Letters in the Herald from known Tory supporters indicate strong reservations. The fact that they are making such feelings public is illuminating. They might yet be strong unionists, but they must be wondering ‘what kind of union’?

    I want independence, but I am not averse to more powers being transferred to Holyrood and from there to council areas – the more we have, the more things we can do and the greateris our potential to bring about more change. Had the 2014 referendum offered a choice among independence, ‘devo max’ and status quo, I would have chosen the first, but if I had to rank my choices under an STV system, then I would have ranked these 1, 2, 3.

  2. Muscleguy says:

    You are absolutely right about the get out the vote operation. I stay in Dundee and campaigned for Yes with Dundee RIC, tramping multis, closes and mean streets the still middle class Yes Scotland/SNP had no constituency in.

    I also volunteered to help get the vote out on the morning of the vote, after voting first in line. An entire car load of us were sent to a leafy suburb to tramp up long gravel drives with 3 cars to ask if anyone needed help getting to the polls.

    Meanwhile the service buttons on access to the multis, closes etc stop working to a large degree at 12noon. To my knowledge that constituency was not targetted. Because the whole thing was organised by the then middle class dominated SNP.

    There would have been some people thinking it was in the bag so why bother despite us making a point on every doorstep that we needed every vote. But let’s face it many people in those places lead chaotic lives and are not the most organised. But those places also have the densest population of voters. It takes second to walk from door to door there vs the minutes to walk up one long drive and over and down another one.

    So just in terms of bangs for bucks it should have been mutlis and closes all day long and perhaps with old fashioned loudspeaker cars, cruising around.

    It was like the following GE when the SNP tsunami happened. I volunteered despite not being a member to help get the SNP vote out locally and found without exception it was getting itself out. One elderly woman thought her husband might want a lift but he was determined.

    I understood. On September 18 2014 I would have crawled over broken glass to get to the poll. I finished my day representing Yes outside that polling place being hugged by Yes voters. Me and the No guy got chatting with the two young coppers and had a very civil chat. It was lovely.

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