Are you shy and retiring, a wee bit of a wall-flower? When your best pal asks you if her outfit makes her bum look big do you cower in fear like a straight man? When watching Eurovision do you refuse to admit that you’re going to vote for the woman in the big frock from Malta because you fear you will be mocked by supporters of the drag queen from Ukraine? According to the No campaign, and the polling company YouGov, Scotland is chock full of quiet and timid sowels who’re dead set on a No vote but are just too feart to mention it in case the Yes voting 70 year old granny next door challenges them to a fight behind the Co-op. It’s all square goes and square slice. It’s too scary to reveal you’re a No voter in case some net curtains are twitched at you in a threatening manner.
But this is Scotland, and by this stage in the referendum campaign if you’ve got a settled view you’ll have shared it with someone. And that someone will invariably have mentioned it in passing to another someone, because that someone is right nosey and you know that the first someone has a gob on them like the Clyde Tunnel. And before you know it half the Co-op knows whether you lean towards the Vote No Mind Bleach, or the Tide of Independence washing powder – guaranteed to remove even the most stubborn nuclear missile stains – long before you’ve got anywhere near the voting products aisle and are still trying to get your trolley around the piles of annoying freeze dried currency threats that are being heavily pushed in a TV and newspaper advertising campaign.
I’m struggling with the notion that there’s an ocean of quiet wee naws out there who’re too shy to mention it. I know a few folk who’re planning to vote no, and they’re very vocal about it. Loudly so, and they have no compunction in saying that they believe themselves to be better educated and to have a bigger flat screen TV and a flashier motor. They’re usually the same people who mistake cynicism for wisdom. People who are disconnected from their hearts only vote with their heads, or more accurately what the papers and the telly tell them about their bank balances. It’s all about the money for some folk, although if those views were taken to their logical conclusion we’d just abolish all this democracy business and just let our neighbours choose our governments for us. Oh wait…
But then I’m quite vocal about yesness, so fair enough. I quite like having my heart and my head in the same place, and it’s the heart which motivates you to discover that the information the media has filled your head with isn’t accurate information. The No campaign wants us to ignore the wee voice in the heart that says “They’re telling you a load of auld pish”.
It could well be that there are some tortured sowels for whom nawness is a dirty little secret, like a wee fart to blame on the dug, and they don’t want to mention it because fingers might be pointed and scoffs guffawed. But they’re only going to feel that way if they believe themselves to be a tiny minority of fartiness amongst people who’ve refused Alistair Darling’s offer of a pile of beans and who take responsiblity for themselves.
The shly elusive timid Naw, like bambis and fluffy bunnies and other easily startled creatures, has very big ears. Shy Naws are just as able as anyone else to listen to what people around them are saying, and if a significant number of them are also No, then the shy ones have no reason to be shy. They’re safely amongst bambis and bunnies who’ve never been known to monster anyone. And there’s a media which is almost uniformly telling them of the great advantages and safety in numbers of being a bunny frozen in the headlights, and that bunnies vastly outnumber the wee ginger dugs. In fact the media has pretty much already declared a victory for No. So any perceptible Nawness from those around them will demonstrate to the shy Naw bunny that it’s safe to come out of the undergrowth and they’re not going to be set upon by any wee ginger dugs that are voting Yes.
The polling company YouGov adjust their figures to take account of shy Naw bunnies hiding in the undergrowth. They do this because of “anecdotal evidence” that No voters are reluctant to say that they’re No voters. Possibly this is based on an anecdote told to them by a hauf pished Labour MP in a Commons bar, before he’s been physically restrained from starting a fight, but we will never know. YouGov are hiding their corrective formula deep in the undergrowth with the hypothetical No bunnies.
In my experience, I come across a lot more shy Yes voters than shy No voters. They’re the ones who say that they’re unsure and don’t know enough. They say that because their heart is telling them Yes, but they’re confronted with an onslaught of media reports telling them that they are selfish, stupid, and shortsighted. They are strongly inclined to vote Yes but don’t want to say so because they don’t feel they can defend their position from the braying belly laughs of people who have larger flat screen TVs and nicer motors and write for the Daily Record. There is only one side in this campaign which is being accused of racism, of being ill educated anglophobes, and of not thinking clearly or logically, and it’s not No voters.
The Radical Independence Campaign have now released the results of their latest mass canvass of Scotland’s working class districts. Yes 42%, No 28%, Don’t Know 30%. It’s that last 30% who are the shy Yeses. They’re the ones who still can’t reconcile their hearts with the heads.
But when your heart and your head are divided you are unhappy and confused. That holds for nations as much as it does for individuals. Those of us who are already singing the song of independence have got the tools, we’ve got the passion, we’ve got the information, we’ve got the heart and soul. The shy Yes voters are the ones who are invisible to the polling companies, not the shy No voters, and they’re the ones who will tip the balance. It’s going to be up to those of us who are not so shy to reassure, persuade, and reconcile the shy ones so that their heads and their hearts sing the same song.
And then together we can create the chorus of Yes, singing a song we write for ourselves. Independence means your heart and your head sing as one.