‘The Way To Win’

Alec RossBy Alec Ross

“The way to win”, writes Pete Wishart, is through “quiet persuasion”.

Here’s a question.

Has anyone met anyone who was No in 2014 and who now, because of Brexit and / or the failure to deliver the “vow”, or any other factor, is now Yes? Because I have to report – I haven’t. I mean, I meet folk who are less against it, but I’ve a horrible feeling that when it comes to it, they’d still vote with the firm.

The conclusion you have to reach is that the unionist vote – and it could be as high as 35% – is rock solid. We’d be wasting our time if we spent even a single second speaking to them.

I started thinking about this during the recent election campaign. We could beat ourselves up over tactics, message and so on but I remember looking at Alister Jack standing in the street with a couple of his mates, saying hello to a couple of supporters and then buggering off – and thinking: “this guy really can’t be bothered”. And then thinking “maybe that’s because he knows he doesn’t have to try”. December 12th proved him right.

There’s a thing called empathetic fallacy, which means that we take our own logical thinking and assume that everybody thinks like us. I mean, D&G voted remain. It’s a remote, rural area for whom EU funding and access to the single market along with continuing free movement to bring us workers to fuel our economy is essential. Why would anyone think for a second that voting for Jacob Rees-Mogg’s bestie, a guy who’s a fully paid-up member of the hard-Brexit cliff-edge club and someone who would deliver precisely the opposite of what the region needs?

And yet plenty folk did. Largely I think because his core support is wealthy, rural and old. And yet, curiously, the numbers show that if you were less well off financially you’d vote for the Tories. For some, economic hardship is a price worth paying for staying in the UK – a bit like the Brexit voters I meet down south for whom leaving the EU is an article of faith. A hundred Yellowhammer reports won’t alter that.

One of the curious paradoxes of the Yes movement is that support for Yes is massive amongst young folk and small in the 55+ range. And yet every pro-independence meeting I go to? Retired folk. Where are the young people?

This squares with the GE turnout. 18-24: 47% ; 25-34: 55% ; 35-44: 54% ; 45-54: 63% ; 55-64: 66% ; 65+: 74%. There’s a map depicting the result of a hypothetical GE where only those over 65 got the vote. It’s nearly entirely blue. Through apathy, younger people continue to get the outcomes that older people determine for them.

So we won’t win by trying “gentle persuasion” on folk who frankly have made it clear they don’t want independence and would appear too happy to determine a future that they will never have to see whilst enjoying a quiet life, and the rest of you can go whistle.

The way to win is to get young people out in massive numbers to demand a future that is theirs much more than it is ours.

But first we need to get a section 30 order. We won’t get that through “gentle persuasion” either. And that’s a whole separate article.

Alec Ross

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4 replies »

  1. I agree with the need to focus on the young voters. We have young people in our SNP group and the Yes Ross and Sutherland group who could and should take the lead. I think we should ask young people what we can do to support them running a campaign to get young voters out so they get to look forward to an independent Scotland. It belongs to them and they know how they communicate best.

  2. ” a thing called empathetic fallacy, which means that we take our own logical thinking and assume that everybody thinks like us.”

    I have a terrible tendency to do this. And then, I get disappointed and don’t understand the actions of people. Mike – my Voice of Reason, says to me again and again “You are expecting reasonable behaviour, from unreasonable people.” And there is obviously no point in doing that.

    I keep on doing it though, Alec. I honestly, honestly thought that there was no way that The Eton Mess ( with his track record) could get back in. I honestly, honestly thought that Brexit simply wouldn’t, couldn’t happen, as it makes no sense for it to happen.
    And then, with a new, hopefully more reasonable, government in England, and being part of the EU, Scotland could become an independent member of a group of truly united nations.

    I still hope that at least the last bit will happen.

    But I do have a tendency to expect reasonable behaviour from unreasonable people. And I’m afraid that life does teach me that there are an awful lot of unreasonable people about.

    I still can’t believe that we will leave the EU at the end of next month. Maybe we won’t. There I go again.
    A triumph of optimism over experience.

  3. Dead on Alex. That Pete Wishart article frustrates me greatly as I think hes wrong on a number of accounts and unfortunately I think that’s the prevailing belief in the SNP hierarchy.
    Take his views on the 2017 election. Complete nonsense. It’s absolutely borne out that in 2015 YES folk were motivated to vote and handed SNP a landslide. In 2017 the absolute insipid SNP campaign of not scaring the horses dudnt inspire them to turn out and they lost their seats and total snp votes were well down in each constituency.
    In 2019 in general we see that the Tory / unionist vote held up and was roughly the same as 2017 but the SNP anti tory vote turned out and SNP total votes in each constituency was well up.
    You have to give people a reason to get out and vote and inspire them to do it ….gentle persuasion …doesn’t do it !!
    Give a vision of a better society and fairer country and get the young to turn out and get the constituencies that normally only 50% vote to turn out …. give them something to vote for. Increase the total YES vote is where the prize lies.
    To do that we need the momentum of a campaign and what we don’t need is 5 more years of “not yet” to watch everything fade into indifference as BOJo says no and SNP do nothing about it.
    There has to be a point where SNP force the issue and now is that time !!

  4. While you sit back with gentle persuasion Westminster will be taking away every asset that Scotland has, they have 5 years to do it, and then they may grant a section 30 knowing that if we vote to leave or have nothing to raise financies. You are playing right into the hands of this far right government. We need to confront them head on. Catalan politicians were willing to be jailed for there beliefs from the electorate, Connely and comrades died and John Maclean was imprisoned for their beliefs, if you really want freedom be prepared to take the b******s on.

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