Getting a good feeling

I’ve been getting a good feeling of late. Admittedly there’s a muckle black cloud looming on my personal horizons, but the Yes campaign seems to be going from strength to strength – at least in my small bubble of confirmation bias. Because that’s all positive feelings about the progress of the Yes campaign can ever be, according to media commentators too numerous to mention. For much of the media the words “progress” and “Alicsammin” can only be understood in the sense of a suicide’s progress off the end of a cliff. They’re already getting themselves set up for another knockout blow for Alicsammin, and it’s going to be all over for the Yes campaign just like it was last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.

It’s all been over for the Yes campaign since before the campaign even started. But here we are. Putting posters in windaes, chapping on doors, talking to friends and neighbours – and feeling pretty damn bouncy. A face to face conversation with a friend is a bombproof shelter against the anti-independence air campaign. You trust your friends and your family more than you trust some distant person with a column in a newspaper that no one in your street reads.

And that’s where Yes is winning. A couple of stories I heard this week brought it home to me. A few wee anecdotes don’t make data, but this referendum isn’t about data. It’s about people, and people have stories. When you put all those stories together you can make Scottish history.

When the campaign started all those oh so many long months ago, my mother was the only Yes supporter in her wee group of six friends – all women in their 70s, mostly retired teachers. The others were going to vote No. A couple of them were vehemently No. They’re precisely the demographic that’s supposed to be least likely to vote Yes – older women who are retired professionals. Yet every single one of them is now going to vote Yes. It was the same story with the mother of another friend, a Labour stalwart in her 70s, she’s now a Yes voter too.

They each have their own individual paths to Yes. For one of my mother’s friends it was going on holiday to the south of England. She met a lovely older woman from Birmingham, and spent the day with her. Her new companion told her she only ever went on holiday in England, and the previous year had gone to Inverness. My mother’s friend pointed out that Inverness is not in England but in Scotland, only to be told: “Oh it’s the same thing.” It was the wee off the cuff remark that crystalised the entire debate for my mother’s friend, that brought into focus decades of Westminster neglect, of a Scotland that cannot control her own destiny. Vote No for Scotland to remain a part of England.

Meanwhile another woman who has been a friend for decades is facing some very tough decisions of her own. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is facing chemotherapy and an operation. She told me that last week as we exchanged our personal woes that she was discussing the chemotherapy with the medical staff and told them that she wanted to start it the week after the referendum. She wants to go and vote Yes to give her grandweans a future. She’s not voted since the 1980s but she’s voting now. This is a different vote, a vote that is so important that she is prepared to delay her chemotherapy treatment in order to participate and make a difference. With commitment like that – how can the Yes campaign possibly lose?

But with all of them it’s not so much that they’ve been swayed by the promises of Alicsammin. It’s more that they’ve been turned off by the No campaign, and in particular the Labour party. They’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories and their wee LibDem hingers on and told us that absolutely every single option that Scotland might exercise as an independent nation is worse than the possibility of Boris Johnson becoming the UK Prime Minister and a Westminster Parliament with Nigel Farage in it. Not just worse but cataclysmically worse. Scotland has absolutely nothing going for it except the kind hearted love of the Westminster Parliament and Dan Snow. And the oil is going to run out at 4.30pm on the first Wednesday after the declaration of independence.

We’re too wee and poor for our economic collapse to have any significant impact on the rest of the UK, but we’re too big a financial risk for them to enter into a currency union with us. We can’t have a currency union because we might raise taxes differently, but if we vote No we are going to be offered all sorts of lovely new tax raising powers. We’re being asked to believe all these propositions are true. But they can’t all be true. We’re coming to realise that none are true.

The No campaign want the currency to be the only question. A matter of a practicality is to determine the principle. It’s not allowed to be about Trident, it’s not allowed to be about social justice, it’s not allowed to be about politicians being held to account, or Scotland determining her own political choices. It’s about the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is, apparently, the positive case for the Union. That and the promise that Kate might get pregnant at some point. Ooooh intshe lurvely.

Labour lines up with the LibDems, and George Galloway and Brian Wilson are the welcome guests of the Tories. The Guardian and the Daily Mail look at one another in the pages of the Mirror. The bankers and the businessmen cheer along. And they all look the same.

Faced with a barrage of claim and counter claim, of facts and figures that contradict one another, women like my mum’s friends listen to what people around them are saying. And they think for themselves. Then they realise that it’s the Yes campaign which is saying exactly what they tell their own weans and the grandweans. Think for yourself. Believe in your own talents and your own abilities. Don’t listen to those who tell you you can’t do it because you can do anything if you put your mind to it. You’ll have your family and your friends to back you up.

They’re not trusting Alicsammin. They’re trusting themselves. They’re trusting their families. They’re trusting Scotland.

39 comments on “Getting a good feeling

  1. JGedd says:

    Welcome back, Paul. Despite all your looming worries, you are still here to inspire us. Your blog has been well supported by thoughtful and entertaining guest posts but it’s good to hear your inimitable voice again. You and your friend, who is delaying chemotherapy, are a reminder that there are those who are facing great personal crises but are undaunted and are clear about the cause of independence. We should be undaunted too.

  2. JimnArlene says:

    There’s an old saying, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always wins.” This time it really does matter, Scotland wins; it’s own government.

  3. Paul your posts recommended to any undecideds that I know (and a few No’s that I’ve known to long to fall out with) have brought many round to our side, your humour optimism and sheer doggedness in failing to give into the ghouls of project fear have shown them that there is an alternative to the race too the bottom, from myself and countless other Yessers thanks to you and the pooch for providing a light in the darkness of the msm

  4. Steve Asaneilean says:

    We live in a society that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. A Yes vote is the only way to move away from that and towards real equality and social justice. But even then it is onky the start of something that will perhaps take a generation to really turn round. I am up for it!

  5. Clootie says:

    Thanks for the lift! I needed that.

  6. macart763 says:

    Always, but always listen to your maw. 🙂

    I’m not ashamed to say that’s exactly how I came to my decision on Scottish independence. I listened to my family, made a few observations of my own, put the two together and made a decision for myself without the aid of any politician’s input.

    Independence – accept no substitutes. Its the most natural thing in the world to strive for. 🙂

  7. A Meringue says:

    I was a bit worried for a couple of weeks recently but this last wee while I find my optimism returning. I cant put a finger on it perhaps it is the video of Jim Murphy being heckled to within an inch of his life at Motherwell cross (of all places) Or is it that the amount of cars giving our Yes stall in Uddingston Main St a friendly toot as they pass whereas six months ago it was abuse being shouted from the windows of passing cars.

    All we need now is for Osborne to climb down and admit to a currency union. This brought about due to pressures from the money markets as they react to his plan for economic suicide for the rUK. You can bet that the treasury is briefing like mad trying to “hold the line” Could happen yet! 🙂

    Anyway “The Pound” isn’t what ordinary folk are talking about it is in my opinion an English obsession to begin with anyway.(You need to have some surplus pounds for it to be a huge worry anyway) And have you noticed, when was the last time that you heard Better together, No Thanks, Vote no Borders etc even mention NATO or Europe? These issues have been put to bed as their bullshit regarding them has been disproved time and time again. “The Pound” is their last remaining lie that they cling to in desperation. In addition they are being pushed onto their back foot over the NHS.

    Not quite “Here we go, here we go, here we go” time but we are getting there. Politics is exciting whad a thought it!

    Anyway Im away to the local off licence to pick up a box of Wings over Scotland’s excellent Wee Blue Book. Don’t worry I`ll no get pished Kenny the owner of Canape wines is part of our local Yes group and his shop is our drop off point for all things indi.

  8. Bamstick says:

    I’m feeling very up today too.
    1. While away “up North” we saw a mixture of YES and NO signs. But wearing our YES badges got people on the streets asking us questions. Mainly women who were a bit decided but veering to YES, their concerns were the NHS, pensions and one was concerned only about immigration. They were really pleased to have someone to talk to and they felt reassured that if ordinary folk like us thought it was a good idea to vote YES then they could too.
    We did find that some ignorant shop keepers slapped change on the counter and were unpleasant, but maybe that wasn’t due to the YES badges. Maybe they were just born that way?
    2. Our son, who I am very proud off, has been “converting” all his NO colleagues and friends firstly by sending them copies of the WBB and secondly by engaging them in deep meaningful conversations about the future of our country. One did tell him to lighten up “You’re 24 not 44, how come you know what GDP is?”

    It’s his future and his children’s future that matters.

  9. Am feeling buoyant about the Yes coming good on the day but cannot shake this nagging doubt that Westminster are going to fix the outcome. They really cannot afford to let Scotland’s natural resources disappear from their coffers. Saor Alba

  10. McTim says:

    Had a great time out campaigning in Leith on Saturday and also filmed an excellent panel on Sunday. Paul, if you want, I can PM you the links when they’re all up, still uploading Sunday night’s stuff including a stirring 25 minute speech from the irrepressible Philippa Whitford. Wasn’t planning on watching the “debate” tonight but I guess I’ll do my bit on FB and twitter to make sure the meeja’s declaration of another “win for the Eyebrows” gets drowned out by #yeswin and FB and tweet updates to set the record straight for the easily swayed. Saor Alba!

  11. Hugh Wallace says:

    Great to read your voice Paul. I was going to send you a wee email just to say hello and best wishes, but saying it here will suffice for us both I am sure.

    I too am feeling more and more optimistic. I’ve written about it in my blog so if you care to have a read you might get some positive vibes which are not simply what you get from speaking to fellow Yessers.

    Thanks you, as always, for your amazing way with words.


  12. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “Yes is winning. A couple of stories I heard this week brought it home to me. A few wee anecdotes don’t make data, but this referendum isn’t about data. It’s about people, and people have stories. When you put all those stories together you can make Scottish history.”

  13. Clarinda says:

    Listening to the summing up of the recorded Women in the referendum debate (20th Aug) meeting ( where Ms Kezia Dugdale told some remarkable whoppers) – I loved Lari Don’s (YES Edinburgh North and Leith) summing up where she compared the YES campaign to setting the scene of a story – a story which will be written by the people of Scotland, encapsulating the groundswell of interest and involvement of our population and, by implication, not by some distant elitist cabal in Westminster.

    I recall that unless the first level of components in the Human Rights constitution “Peace, Freedom and Justice” the “Power to accomplish ” cannot be implemented. Our referendum is all about our potential to accomplish, to be and to grow and learn – roll on our Independence.

  14. Alex Kerr says:

    Keep up the great posts wee ginger dug you’re an inspiration, Without you’re tireless optimism to combat the madness of the msm the campaign would be a less survivable place. Tell Paul he’s doing a good job to!

  15. WRH2 says:

    Been away for short holiday and spent travelling time spotting Yes signs. They outnumbered the Naws by heaven knows how many to 2. Spotted one row of houses which were absolutely covered in Yes signs. They were in lots of colours which just looked great.
    Back home again and sad to hear your news Paul but good to read your wonderful post again. Your story is a big part of our story of this road to freedom.

  16. setondene says:

    I’m really proud of the whole Yes campaign and the way it’s conducted itself. And particularly of leaders like yourself Paul. Thanks a million for everything.

  17. kininvie says:

    Hi Paul,
    After seeing you on Saturday, we trundled our van all over the central belt from Troon to Kirkcaldy, dropping off thousands of Wee Blue Books. In the course of the journey, we must have met a whole cross section of the Scottish demographic. This is a campaign which transcends all the traditional divisions of wealth, class, party politics – astonishingly so for a country usually mired in tribalism of one kind or another. Somehow we have learned enthusiasm, dedication and unity. It’s not going to go to waste.

    • weegingerdug says:

      It was good to meet you too. But I was even more pleased that my dad (my dad!) went to a Yes event. He had a really good time too – I think Robert’s whisky helped!

  18. Marian says:

    When the Scottish Government announced that there was going to be a referendum I am sure most Scots naively thought that we would get honest and constructive participation in the debate from the Westminster parties where each party would offer Scotland some alternative visions to independence that might be worth giving some serious consideration to.

    But what Scots got instead was the Labour Party joining in an unholy alliance with the Tories and LibDems to create what they themselves called “Project Fear” whose whole purpose and agenda is to tell big lies to scare the bejesus out of the people of Scotland so that they will continue accepting unreformed Westminster rule forever and whatever vindictive punishments that Westminster decides to hand out to Scotland after a NO vote for challenging its hegemony.

  19. I’ve seen a lot more Yes stickers in the past week. Maybe it’s the #Yesbecause, or maybe it’s just that we’re into the last month, but it’s starting to really get going.

    I’ve seen two No stickers over the whole campaign (saw about a dozen Yes ones today alone).

    • weegingerdug says:

      I’ve been keeping my own wee tally of No posters and Yes posters in the windows of houses and flats in the East End of Glasgow. I’ve lost count of the Yes windaes now, more appear every day. There are now eleven just in my street and the neighbouring streets in Riddrie, more than another dozen on the route between here and the hospital, three Yes houses side by side on the Edinburgh Rd in near Cranhill Park and another Yes house facing them, another dozen or so on the route from here into the city centre, and an entire street of Yes down in Barrowfield.

      I’d not seen any No windows until last week when I spotted one in Easterhouse (where it was heavily outnumbered by the Yeses) and a wee nest of Nawness in Dennistoun just off Duke Street where there are five close together huddling for shelter near an old shop front that’s plastered with Nos and Union flags. (And likewise outnumbered by local Yeses.) I think it’s a BT base, but I’ve never seen anyone in it, it’s always shuttered up.

      Yes outnumbers No by well over 10 to 1.

  20. johnmcgurk says:

    I was born during the war ,we had rationing and things were a bit tough ,but we managed to get bye but we did not have food banks. I have seen Scotland slowly being decimated bye various Westminster governments that just do not understand Scotland’s particular needs and conditions . And when we try to go our own way and achieve something better we are slapped down .

  21. Teri says:

    I’m optimistic about the vote, too, Paul. I’ve spoken to so many people over the past week who are now voting YES. They’ve taken their time in deciding by listening to what’s being said, reading up on it and realising that the pro union lot are telling great big porkies. Not only has that angered them but it has made them realise the Labour parties shortcomings and know that they are only in it for themselves, not for the people.

    At my Keep Fit class today (for Golden Oldies with chronic health problems) currency was discussed by one group. One wee wumman allayed the fears of a few others by explaining that we could use the pound by citing other countries that use it and going into great detail about Ireland after it became independent. It was great to see the penny drop with a few who were really worried and to see them reassured.

    We’re going to do this. I feel sure of it. Is it too early to get ‘We did it’ badges made>

  22. steve allan says:

    Hi Paul, I am a taxi driver and, like you, have seen yes posters being put up all over Glasgow with very few no posters, this is happening in wealthy areas as well as in working class areas and of course in cars. Every passenger i get i ask them how they are voting and try to change their mind if they are no or don’t know. I have seen a very steady move to yes but yesterday for the first time ever every person I asked was voting yes. What a day. Roll on the 18th

  23. macart763 says:

    That was a win Paul.

    Way better from the FM.

  24. dennis mclaughlin says:

    Love him or hate him,we all know Alec Salmond has Scotland’s interests first in his heart.

    Tonights debate was a masterclass for any wannabe politician,K Dugdale need not apply 🙂

  25. smiling vulture says:

    Put up HUGE YES poster living room window today,few hours later a tenement window opposite me had one.

    p.s.– 71% Salmond,29% Darling cheered me up,icing on cake,it was the bbc

  26. McTim says:

    Was an excellent night for Yes and one or two papers might even run with a Salmond won headline tomorrow. The gap keeps closing folks and ICM were reporting 52% to 48% of women in favour of Yes after the debate as per Stephen Noon’s tweet. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a 54% win for Yes on Sept 18.

  27. Yes meetings all over the area. Better Together meetings invisible. Think they do their campaigning at Tory party and LibDem get-togethers. However, a nasty rash of purple No signs has broken out across the green fields, although some are placed so well back from the road you have to wonder if they’re not meant to be seen, or whether it’s just the purple that’s a cause for concern in case people think the good farmers concerned have jumped tractor to UKIP.

    At a recent meeting there were two intrepid folk from the No side. One must have been taking lessons from Alistair Darling for he was all snide remarks, disparaging the White Paper, interrupting other speakers, sighing and rolling his eyes. He was also fixated by us not being able to use the £ in a currency union. The other was a well known retired businessman who jumped up, mentioned the greatest union in the history of the world, fighting together in two world wars, nasty nats and disgusting cybernats, and then sat down, having spoken consumed by emotion for about one minute.

    The Chair, before wading in on the BT side, insisted we needed answers to all those unanswered questions. In his closing remarks he admitted he was none the wiser after the debate but he was looking forward to a cup of tea and sausage roll from the finger buffet.

    And we wonder how the country got into such a state!

  28. Andy Nimmo says:

    We had here in Stenhousemuir, a woman living next door to a popular bar/restaurant offering to put up a large Yes banner.on her house. Alas we couldn’t access a large enough ladder to get it to the position she wanted.
    While we were at the Yes stall on Saturday an old protagonist of mine a self employed roofer drove past..(even his initials are GB)
    I waved him down expecting the usual slagging I’d endured for 30 years but no, he offered to help, not just by lending the required ladder but also with putting the banner up.
    I collared him later to ask about what had caused the change.
    His reply was that some friend of him had stated quite simply..”When you started your own business it must have taken guts and you must have been told loads of times that you were too stupid to succeed. Why should it be different for your country? and that got me thinking.
    Now I’m feeling stupid that I didn’t say that 30 odd years ago.
    Anyway if your ever in the Stenhousemuir area have a drink or a meal at the Stables (used to be called the Dykes) and have a look at the big house next door.

    PS – The food’s great as well and no I don’t have shares in the place

  29. […] I've been getting a good feeling of late. Admittedly there's a muckle black cloud looming on my personal horizons, but the Yes campaign seems to be going from strength to strength – at least in my …  […]

  30. Jan Cowan says:

    Only just found this post, Paul. My favourite – “The Guardian and the Daily Mail look at one another in the pages of the Mirror.” Absolutely top marks. That’s one I’ll treasure!

  31. Kavanagh: “They’re not trusting Alicsammin. They’re trusting themselves. They’re trusting their families. They’re trusting Scotland.”

    Yes, I think that’s right. What drives us is the simple belief that tomorrow can be better than today. The Unionist message is that this is as good as it gets. Their only strategy is to tell us what we CAN’T do.

    I do fear however, that my countrymen may bottle it – We would be, so far as I know, the only established and recognised country to reject its own independence in modern history. I imagine on Sept 19, the difficulty I will have accepting I’m from the only nation to say NO because it didn’t have the balls to say YES.

    My Scottish cringe which took DECADES to exorcise will return with a vengeance, only this time it will have legitimate reason to be.

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