Days 8 & 9
Saturday 25th-Sunday 26th
Nomination formalised and media launch done, the campaign kicked off properly today for Ash with a trip to YES Stonehaven & Mearns.
The morning kicked off early, likely due to the high of having launched the day prior in North Queensferry. By 7am the WhatsApp core team chat was alive with chatter.
Kirk proposed a 9am call to have a debrief, tighten the work flow and build out a more concrete plan. The theme of the week was ‘Who is Ash Regan’ and ‘what the hell is a VEM’.
Ash was still taking media heat over her stance on self id – which we had a motto on – ‘moving from they/them to VEM’ and back to the concrete issues of Independence.
Attention turned to focussing on the policy announcements we’d made while in the North, specifically forming a policy for the dualling of the A9.
At 7:30am, Ash wanted a full briefing of how the 65 countries that left the British Empire had done so, which probably gives you an idea of just how much work was needed to be done, and how far behind we actually were. I agreed to compile the list – and I was glad I did – because someone would later quote it back to us at a hustings!
By 8am we were reviewing the media spreads on our launch the day before, we’d planned to capture the weekend media and somewhat had succeeded.
Print media was excellent in its coverage and key points hit. The news bulletins in the evening and morning were all really good. The interviews we had done – were all cut with a terrible slant.
The gravy bus riders were absolutely furious with the launch and were apologetic that Ash wouldn’t just defer to Nicola.
Some journalists were quite openly snarky about the key points from the day before. Specifically upset about the idea that independence could be sought in a method other than a referendum and that it had happened before.
What would later be the ‘independence delivery plan’ was started on that day in the chat.
I’ll post an exact excerpt from the chat:
The right to self determination is universally accepted.
Britain has disagreed and said no to nearly every country that has left the UK/British empire, in every situation the British media has always agreed with the British.
Saying no, has never worked, in every situation Britain eventually get dragged to the table.
Referendums are very rare, some declare independence, some pass a constitution and vote it through.
The UN, France, US, Japan have all played their part in the past in bringing about change.
Northern Ireland has the right to a poll every 7 years on it.
This is not our preferred option of the GOLD STANDARD REFERENDUM - this was denied and blocked.
- No other country in the world accepts the UK Supreme Court as the arbitrator of international law.
Section 30 is a Scotland Act section, therefore no other country in the world has ever needed a section 30 order. Not one.
KEY THEME: If saying no is the UK position - why has it never worked anywhere except Scotland.”
Although by the time we started the meeting, Kate Forbes had apparently wandered back out and decided that women shouldn’t be church minsters. There was much bewilderment amongst us to what the Kate campaign were thinking.
The SNP whips were warming up, sending in veiled threats that Parliamentary time was precious and sitting in on debates was required and that no time could be spared for campaigning and that action would be taken against candidates.
‘Killjoy Kirk’ renamed the chat from ‘West Wing’ to ‘Core Team’.
While Ash was off visiting the North with Kirk, there was a pressing matter for us to attend to. The National had started to release its findings of the online poll sabotage – and it turns out a user in Kirkcaldy/Cowdenbeath on Virgin Media had been part of the spoofing. I was an immediate suspect.
There was a poll showing we had nearly double digit support, it was good enough for us to celebrate, and we considered it way too early to be worried. It was also clear Kate was doing an ‘economic launch’ on the Monday at a brewery, focusing on the deposit return scheme so we began our planning of lines around that. The over-riding thought for us was – we have recycling at kerbside – the punitive tax isn’t needed.
We launched our first ‘Ambassadors for Ash’ mailer and asked them to share materials from our launch. On reflection, we did not use the Ambassador platform nearly enough.
As we rolled into Sunday Fife MSP’s Gilruth and Somerville decided to abandon any pretence of fairness and instead had a mini launch in Dunfermline for Humza without inviting any of the other candidates. Dark patterns from the whips to the inner circle were becoming clearer.
Ash and her partner unveiled the oil communities plan during the northern tour. The detail was simple – we won’t import what we can domestically produce. We will export to allies rather than relying on insecure nations such as Russia. We will lead the world in renewables.
The media had by this point boiled the campaigns down to: Humza Useless, Wee free Forbes, and Mad Ash. We decided to shoulder into it, but increase the substantive detail available via our website. Radical but substantive was fine.
The A9 slant changed to an apology and a delivery plan. We worked on that for a few hours and then got the most haunting photo sent back. It was the best they could do given how early it got dark and the amount of events packed in.
As Ash and Kirk started to work their way back down to Edinburgh – the team started work on some of the upcoming plans, such as the SNP action plan and our DRS communications.