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Change is happening

Allison Graham at Bannockburn – June 2022 (Footage from IndependenceLive)

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Your Move London♟

This week the First Minister of Scotland announced to the Scottish Parliament that Scotland would have an advisory referendum on independence on October 19th 2023. There would be a few routes that this could take, let’s use letters to label then.

A  S30 from UK Gov to mirror precedence of 2014 Indy Ref with the Edinburgh Agreement 2012
B  Referendum Bill from Scottish Parliament
C  Plebiscite Westminster election at   next General Election

The details in the announcement were, I’d assume, deliberately vague and most certainly caught the opposition parties and media unprepared.

Pronouncements on Plan B were made mainly on the sequence of events with Lord Advocate proactively seeking a ruling from UK Supreme Court on the competency of Scottish Parliament to legislate, being widely reported as a ’curve ball’. This led naturally to our engaged independence movement’s questions and scrutiny. We can speculate as to the pros and cons and rationale, given our experience of following Martin Keatings, Forward As One, Peoples Section 30 case decision and we absolutely should. Details on Plan C even seemed to create confusion between FM and DFM!

However, regardless of where we sit on the cynicism scale with the, now tiny,  inner circle of SNP, you have to recognise Tuesday’s announcement as a catalyst for renewed action and enthusiasm in an otherwise stagnant political movement for real change. Progress has been glacial from a political body distracted by policy that seems determined to divide, not coalesce Scotland as required on a plan for safe change to the betterment for all. The people have stayed committed to independence as the key to real change so we need those we elect to deliver to keep us ‘in the loop’ on progress.

If the bold announcement of a longed for date does nothing else, it puts Scottish independence back on the news cycle and that’s the national conversation we need. In no small part thanks to our unionist politicians and UK MSM who are shrieking from the rooftops that,

“Scotland can’t!”

”Scottish Parliament have no powers to!”

”How dare the Scottish Government speak for the people of Scotland!”

There’s a veritable choice for Scottish Independence Campaigner of the month, and none of them actually want independence!

Those of us who have more than a cursory interest in Scotland’s constitutional future are enjoying the political popcorn created by unionists this week while we scrutinise the actual announcement from the FM.

Now it may be the Greens influence rubbing off but there does seem to be more than a little, ’reuse, recycle ♻️ ’ going on as many of us have seen all these ideas before, just not from the FM but that’s for another blog!

So, what do we know for sure and where are the gaps?

Well we know fundamentally that Scotland having an independence referendum agreed by U.K. government is legally and constitutionally possible as we’ve done it before in 2014.

We also know that an agreement signed by both governments to facilitate the smooth running of this democratic process is possible as we have the Edinburgh Agreement 2012 as proof and precedent.

We also know that 8 years have almost passed since Scotland’s people were asked on 18th September 2014, “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

We know that much has changed in this timeframe, much of it material change, even to the constitutional position of the UK that Scotland chose as status quo option in 2014. This illusionary ’status quo’ of Westminster along with our devolution settlement has failed to protect Scotland from Brexit, hostile immigration policy, brutal Tory austerity that Scotland has never voted for is failing yet again, with abundant renewable energy, to utilise our precious natural resources for the common weal of our people.

We know that without any other written definition in UK or Scots Law, that a political generation is defined in Good Friday Agreement 1998 as 7 years, co-signed by UK, Ireland and USA. If UK is a union of equals, why would Scotland not have the same time definition as NI to determine our constitutional future?

In reinforcement, we know that the post Indy Ref, Smith Commission, Nov 2014, in paragraph 18, leaves subsequent democratic decisions on Scotland’s constitutional future, to the people.

Para.18 “It is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future if the people of Scotland so choose.”

The most recent jigsaw 🧩 piece is the democratic mandate given by the people of Scotland when they elected an independence majority into Scottish Government in May 2021. The SNP were elected by majority of 62/73 in the constituency vote and combined with 2 list seats and greens 8 list seats, formed an independence majority of 72/129. The list votes were just over 50% to pro independence parties.

Given all the unquestionable positions on the board, what moves can UK Government make to beat this democratic checkmate while under international scrutiny? As UK feel their way to find their place in their post Brexit world, with only bravado and trading on historic reputations for ‘Mother of Parliaments’ can the UK really afford to have their undemocracy for Scotland questioned? How will that play with potential trade partners, even those without a large Scottish Diaspora? 

With all the media and political commentary on the feasible the Scottish Government’s plans B & C, have we missed the importance of plan A as UK’s Achille’s heel?

Robin McAlpine spoke at IndyX Fife on the necessity to have plan A, B, C etc., as part of an overall strategy as we’ve no time to go back to start point if a ‘component part’ fails, we must be flexible, proactive and ready to segway if and when the game changes. That’s strategy folks!

Those of us who play chess♟may be at an advantage to see any strategy at all in seemingly contrary actions. It may not even be deliberate by the SNP leadership but that matters not, once the energy from our movement takes hold and runs with it.

The key point is the march back down the hill just can’t be allowed to happen this time. We must ensure we overtop the hill we’ve climbed so many times in 8 years and this time ensure that our collective momentum sustains and builds to make independence inevitable.

To do this we must capture the peoples’ imagination, enthusiasm and breathe life into a vision for a new Scotland, for the betterment of all of us.

To create a peoples’ force for change we must have a singular commitment to our common goal: to deliver independence. To do this we must remember what created our 2013/24 grassroots movement and put any political party hats down to focus on our goal. If we’re to create an unstoppable peoples’ force, we must not allow the drag of day to day government to distract and derail progress. We must decouple indy movement from political parties and at the same time, all our politicians must step up now to raise the bar in personal, party and policy standards. This is a critical role they must play to demonstrate capability and build trust. The wise politicians will get on board or risk getting left behind.

Joanna Cherry QC MP is very well placed to demonstrate both legal and political credibility and show safe hands for Scotland in a UK Parliament where she is respected. Now as Acting Chair of the esteemed and critically important Joint Committee on Human Rights, she must surely play a pivotal role? Her recent call for an independence alliance will be heard well beyond Scotland to further normalise the reality that independence is a question for all the people of Scotland and not restricted to SNP party policy.

Point to note, for our politicians, is that our Celtic cousins on the island of Ireland give no deference and spend exactly zero time discussing mechanism of persuasion of the British to their position. ALL focus is on their own people and convincing them that they goal of united Ireland should happen (most importantly at this stage) WILL happen. This is what leads to international recognition that they are following the will of the people.

They are normalising change, which in itself changes mindsets from fear to opportunity: we must do the same in Scotland. Wales are breathing fresh energy into their constitutional conversation with new voices being raised. Many in England are also questioning their place in a post Brexit world with Mick Lynch throwing a bucket of cold water over UK media and politicians with his fearless, consistent messaging on workers rights, seemingly forgotten by the Labour Party that was founded on this principle!

The normalisation of change should be the key focus to build the necessary pressure that Robin McAlpine spoke about at IndyX Fife, to put UK into a position that it’s easier to have another Edinburgh Agreement than not to.

Egos MUST be put away now as this opportunity is too important to squander by navel gazing and ‘one up man-ship’. You don’t have to believe in someone to take an opportunity they’ve created (deliberately or otherwise) and run with it. What someone does to us isn’t in our control but how we react to it absolutely is! 

To optimise any force it’s imperative we keep our component parts tightly together or energy is lost through the gaps. This applies equally in a political movement as it does in physics. How we square that with facilitating different ideas and embracing other views is something that needs serious attention now.

The ONLY way is to connect on common purpose: Scottish independence and allow autonomy on all else.

What is independence for if not empowerment of democratic self determination for our people on all decisions affecting them? Focus on where we agree and build our campaign as a rich, diverse, organic movement of ideas and a passion to make a better Scotland democratically and respectfully of all views.

We must all set an example to those that will try to make this a single party initiative. It’s not and can’t be if we are to have certainly of a result. We need to start as we mean to go on with a Scotland for everyone if we’re to build trust in our independent future, even amongst those who won’t vote for it.

There is lots to do in the weeks and months ahead but some key things are:

  • Focus on where we agree: Scottish independence 
  • Change IS happening across these islands in Scotland, Wales and the island of Ireland, England must also have a conversation on its post Brexit future 
  • Focus on Scotland’s democratic right to choose
  • Call out UK law breaking domestically & internationally 
  • Precedent of Edinburgh Agreement 
  • Importance of Nation Conversation 
  • Need for Constitutional Convention 
  • Need for Citizen’s assembly 
  • Need for a Nation Building Conversion to capture the nation’s pulse & ambition for what happens in Scotland, in transition to independence and 5 years, 10 years, 20 years on from Independence Day

These are the tools to make independence normal, democratic and inevitable. 

Now is not the time to burn down political houses but to shape consensus on potential with ambitious vision and future the necessary establish democratic checkpoints to build a new nation based on trust that the people can and will decide. 

A new political environment will emerge organically, just as Indy grassroots did in 2013/14 and this should be embraced, not feared by our body politic in Scotland. 

Politicians who have continually asked the people of Scotland to trust them to deliver an independent Scotland must now trust the people to be core to shaping their future. As our people who make their lives here, will make our Independent Scotland a place that’s worth all efforts to achieve it!

So how will a UK Government, chastised by ECHR on illegal immigration deportation policy and embattled with EU over breaking international law over NI Protocol, respond to the democratic challenge laid down by Scottish Government? 

We must, while focusing on Scotland, be alive to the external influencing factors on UK’s position, of power dynamics in Ireland, an increasingly vocal Wales, RMT agitation for workers rights across UK, being a third country to EU, ECHR scrutiny, UN observation on Rights of The Child, all culminating in what must seem to UK Government a democratic pincer movement!

Scotland and our democratically elected Scottish Government must hold our collective nerve and keep laser focussed if we are to look UK Government in the eye as equal partners as we announce “checkmate” ♟

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What society needs from Politicians

If we want our society to succeed, for all of us, we need politicians to succeed in delivering for us. This cannot be measured on career longevity or party standing but on real achievements for country and constituents.

We need to encourage more political minds of a calibre that can critically analyse information, really listen to understand problems and assess potential outcomes  before making decisions. Being a ‘team player’ seems laudable on the surface but not at the detriment of individual thinking. This is particularly important if the end goal is an independent Scotland and all the creativity and problem solving it will take to ensure a country that can thrive for all! 

Without fearless politicians, speaking up against populist tides through the generations how would fundamental societal progress have been achieved, such as the abolition of slavery?

This time of crisis for so many, is not the time for us to prioritise ‘a career in politics’ of compliant ‘team players’, this is the time to seek out and support the brave politicians of principle who will ask the difficult but necessary questions!

If we are to build consensus to achieve the safest, most robust solutions for inclusive, stable, peaceful transition to an independent nation we must ensure the freedom for our elected representatives to question on our behalf, even their own party direction, without sanction.

Gatekeepers of Quality 

Political parties are the gatekeepers to vet candidates to ensure they provide us with a choice of high calibre individuals to vote to represent us. They must take seriously the responsibility for the output their internal  process produces.

We, as the electorate can measure political parties on whether they will deliver on their manifestos and promises at the next election, but this is broad brush as much depends on the alternatives.

Least worst is no longer good enough, if it ever were. Success at elections depends both on your performance (or promises) and that of your opposition. It’s time we had a finer lens to measure and scrutinise, at least annually, how our elected representatives are performing for us.

Removing Barriers to Representative Politics 

It might even make winners less daunted at what they need to do to succeed and help losers know better what voters expectations are for next time. We must put focus on encouraging people from across society to come forward as potential candidates and break through the politico bubble that’s is currently a barrier to those ‘not in the know’.

Surely we can all agree that if we aspire to truly representative government at all levels, then removing such barriers to entry creates ideal conditions. In a Scotland seeking to demonstrate that our desire for independence is on the grounds of civic betterment for us all, this is critical.

If those in power push back and question why must they be transparent and accountable: the electorate should really be asking them “why?”

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Perception in politics can make or break you

Winning is hard, as politicians have a spotlight on them which presents some very real perception problems to navigate. Once a perception is set, it can be hard to change so transparency and accessible accountability provide a sound evidence base to counter unjustified negative perceptions and critically, for the electorate, leaves nowhere to hide for justified ones!

What do politicians do when problems arise and what should they do? 

Option 1:

  • cover the problems and claim “all is well” even when evidence mounts to the contrary

Option 2:

  • throw up hands saying “sorry, we WILL endeavour to do better, we will learn and we will prove to you we are worthy of your vote”

Option 3: 

  • nothing, ignore it

I’ll leave it up to readers to decide what politicians should do and what they think they do do 😉

How to help winners succeed!

How you win is a key focus of political parties. The familiarity of the party machine at election time is what gets HQ juices flowing but where is the energy invested in USING the power from a win, beyond re-election, to deliver. That is what’s actually important to constituents after all! 

Some of our newly elected Scottish councillors will have never done this job before so how are they (or any other newly elected representative) set up to succeed?

Most parties have an assumption that mentoring by an ‘old hand’ is the key yet isn’t that a bit like being taught to drive by your Dad? 

Clash of wills between ‘master and apprentice’ may swiftly derail progress, in addition to the risk of picking up ‘bad habits’ from a ‘master’ with years of driving from an outdated hIghway code from when they ‘passed’. 

The process stuff should be fairly simple to go through at an induction, but beyond administrative learning, how do our new councillors learn to really succeed for their constituents? Simplest way is to observe who gets things done and where their priorities lie. 

When One Master becomes Two 

The key thing that changes from trying to get elected to being elected (unless independent) is a politician’s reporting line suddenly expands beyond their party.

To get elected candidates are part of a team, largely reliant on party brand and voter management strategy to be successful. Once elected, politicians now have two masters: party and constituents and their needs and wants don’t always align. 

Who the primary master is for a politician is fundamental in driving outcomes for; politician, party and constituents. Whether you’re a fan of Churchill or not, or agree or disagree about duties of parliamentarians to be ‘country first, then constituents’ I think few voters would disagree that his stated third duty, to political party should always ranks after both.

Yet as we see in all areas of government, the whip system is often deployed to protect a party position, at times to the detriment of some representative’s own constituents or even arguably the country. I’ve even heard from some candidates that party loyalty is tested at vetting, to assess how much of a ‘team player’ candidates are, using examples setting constituents interest against party! 

I find this very concerning but it reinforces why I could never be a politician in such a party system. I’d likely lose the whip before lunchtime on my first day, assuming I passed vetting!  Most folk who I believe would make excellent political representatives are of the same independent mindset. Some already elected have been punished for not being ‘team players’ either at vetting, selection or even through demotion! 

What do you do when interests clash – Local Hero or Party Nero? 

If politicians ignore constituents issues in favour of party line, they run the risk of; 

  • bad press,
  • heated surgeries
  • red hot constituency inbox
  • reputational damage as ‘Party Nero’, cloth eared to constituents when party interests and personal career interest are assumed to trump constituents interests
  • risk to re-election, if they’ve the stomach to continue in politics.

If the politician aligns with constituents interests, as their primary master, they can become the ‘local hero’ but this is too often at a personal cost within their party.

There’s an abundance of examples at all levels of government of politicians ‘rebelling’ to take positions against their own party’s line and even losing the whip because of it. There are many reasons for this for example:

  • Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s March 2003 eloquent resignation speech in protest against the invasion of Iraq
  • Andy Wightman’s resignation from Scottish Greens following an uncomfortable whipped adherence to party line on the Lamont ‘6 words’ amendment to The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill
  • Elected councillors resigning party whip to stand as independents for their constituents on points of local interest or issues within their party

So what have we learned about the problems (and indeed benefits) of winning? 

Winning presents politicians with the real opportunity to make a positive (or negative) impact on their constituents lives and on society’s direction. The last few years have brought home that many decision made by politicians can be literally be life or death ones. 

Politicians are human beings and will make mistakes as we all do but it’s how they deal with their successes, failures and insecurities that have a wider impact on us all. 

Final part: What does society needs from politicians?

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How do voters know what’s true?

Well, we don’t have much to go on as voters when it comes to ‘actuals’ on a politician’s promises or indeed record in office. It’s true that politics geeks do like a good trawl of a voting record but how many folk have the time, knowledge of process or even interest to do that? Media have a role of course but the front page story above shows, it’s a pretty pointless exercise after votes have been cast! 

What could we do to help voters?

First principles, make it easy for voters. If politicians truly want an empowered electorate we must help them to make robust democratic choices, to support them or their party, by convincing them instead of ‘fooling them long enough’ with flashy soundbites and personality politics, to cast their vote.

To do this, effort must be expended to allow voters to base our decisions on evidence rather than just promises we can’t easily track the delivery of.

How do we know how politicians are actually doing? 

Most people don’t but we could change that, starting with transparency. Look at how other ‘industries’ manage to track employee delivery.

Most employees have some sort of appraisal at annual review to see who is:

  • ‘on track’
  • overachieving and candidate for promotion
  • Underachieving and in need of training etc.
  • failing for other reasons

So why don’t we do this for politicians? Their decisions impact our society so surely their tracking is critical to us all? 

Why don’t our politicians have to provide a ‘report card’ when elected, to measure progress against their stated objectives and election promises?

At every new election a CV should be provided of a politician’s background, experience and views on / voting intentions on key issues! Parties must have this information for their internal vetting so why is it not available to politicians prospective employers: the electorate?

Is it just because no one has asked them to before? Good politicians who deliver have a lot to gain from such accessible transparency after all. 

Next part: Perception in politics can make or break you

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All hail the winners but then…

‘SNP held Glasgow’ was trumpeted after the local council count by a Scottish media with very little to work with from a pretty non eventful election.

The ‘hold’ was true but the ‘grip’ is fragile. The previous shockwave win of SNP from the long incumbent Labour stronghold in 2017 was seen by many as a seismic democratic change for Scotland’s largest city. The reality though from pals from my home City and visits to friends and family is that not much changed and many of the changes are not largely positive.

This is disappointing as Scotland’s ‘Dear Green Place’ has so much going for it in both its architecture, green spaces, vibrant culture and of course it’s indomitable people.

The fragility of last week’s results is that a slim majority leaves open the very real possibility of losing control from by-elections, where those is power tend to be at a disadvantage when constituents are angry. The machinations of forming administrations is not always straightforward but it can be telling as to who is willing to work with who and why!

A fragile majority on any administration puts pressure on those who were elected to demonstrably deliver! Given the need for serious work from our local authorities at anytime never mind a cost of living crisis, stability and focus is key.

The last Glasgow SNP administration was beset with early bad press from the Lady Provosts’s spending, leading to her stepping down from role, to a series of resignations from SNP councillors, claiming issues with group leader and overall discipline within the group.

One week on from the election we saw front page of Glasgow Evening times with a splash story on a recently re-elected SNP councillor who they have now ‘fact checked’ statements he made at recent election hustings as evidently ‘untrue’. This relates to excuses he made when attempting to explain his 84th of 85 position on council meeting attendance – not ideal when seeking re-election. He was re-elected, so, where does that leave his voters? 

It’s interesting this story broke a week after his constituents cast their votes so it’s a moot point as to whether it would have made any impact if voters had been made aware before the vote but it does raise a wider, serious issue. 

How do voters know what’s true? I’ll explore this in next part of this blog:  How do voters know what’s true?

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The Problem With Winning…

A week, they say is a long time in politics so where are we a week on from Scottish Local Council Elections?

Election agents will have filed their papers, campaign teams packed away polling boards and recycled (hopefully not too many) unused leaflets. Celebrations and commiseration, both genuine and not so much, will have largely concluded. Gravy buses parked up until next time the carnival is in town and lights have been switched off at campaign hubs.

….but what of the candidates? Those who lost may be reflecting on what went wrong and what they’ve learned from the experience.

Would they stand again? What would they do differently? Is politics for them? Are they in the right party if a paid, elected role is their goal?

Yet they have the luxury of some time to reflect, replan, rebuild or even realign politically. Those elected however are straight to work, under a spotlight of expectation to deliver.

Now, realistically, for a local election most voters haven’t read much from candidates and even less from national or local manifestos but that doesn’t mean constituents don’t have demands. Life is really tough out there for many folk.

The newly elected/re-elected councillors may soon find that gravy isn’t always slick, rich and shiny, it can also be dull, grainy and lumpy.

So whether a winning candidate stood to:

  • show willing, on the promise of more lucrative future opportunities within their party
  • to make up numbers for their party from loyalty, even if being a councillor isn’t really for them
  • personal political profile
  • nice wee earner, where attending 1 meeting every 6 months is the minimum expectation…

OR

  • a genuine desire to work hard to make the lives of those in their communities better, by listening to them and working collegiately across council to be ambitious and drive real change

…the constituents will be expecting the latter so you better get your collective sleeves rolled up councillors!

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How to talk so the electorate will listen and listen so the electorate will vote

As the Politerati and their entourages pick over the celebrations and commiserations of last week’s Scottish Local elections, it’s a good time for those of us who value retrospectives to think about what have we actually learned from the electorate. Given the drastic changes and events since the 2017 election, incredibly not much changed electorally but why no shockwave results in Scotland?

Why do parties with policies that seem to resonate with public opinion, not translate into votes? Why isn’t voter registration & turnout at record highs? What are the barriers to overcome to get people to listen to policies that could improve their lives? How long can even ‘successful’ election results be relied on, just by being the least worst option?

This all made me think of a book that did the rounds among mum friends at Toddlers group years ago, when we tried to makes sense of navigating communication with the wee people in our charge. Mealtimes were particularly challenging with visual indicators of dissatisfaction. Thrown plates of food, tears and clamped shut jaws were common. Literal ‘fingers in ears’ to pleas to eat the healthy vegetables. Too often roundly rejected, even with the best aeroplane noises of encouragement deployed to ‘land the broccoli’.

What were we missing? We turned to this book, ‘How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk’.

The book’s advice is really pretty straightforward, it’s all about communication. To get them to listen to you, you first have to listen to them. Just building trust though strong two way communication: simple.

Worth exploring to connect with voters?

Given voters are just older versions of these wee broccoli refusing people, could this also the simple ‘trick’ to get voters to sit at our table, engage and respond positively? Forget the plastic gimmicky election tricks and just really listen first before making noises at them?

Let’s start with with what we know about tested election campaign tools;

“Eat the broccoli!!”

…is the equivalent of passive broadcasting of party message via unsolicited leafleting.

It makes a demonstrably negligible difference to land a message and is the worst return on investment to raise awareness to translate to votes. It also has negative consequences of association to junk mail/spam and can build a barrier to engagement. The external factor is, your carefully crafted message on shiny A5 card will be lost in the noise of a dozen other party leaflets behind doors, and compared, if the bundle is not taken as a job lot straight to the recycle bin.

Why do parties do it then? Honestly, I think it’s just habit, “it’s what we do and have always done” emanates from campaign HQs!

It’s something to do at election time and doing something is always better than doing nothing, right?

Hmm that depends on who’s perspective you look at it from. On the positive side, it may make members feel good to be involved and may even help build a team in the short term but when results don’t reflect the financial and physical efforts, it can quickly flip to a post election slump in mood, drop in active engagement or even cancelled membership.

“What is it about the broccoli?”

What does work then and where should effort & resources be better spent?

Well, first step is to take your party member hat off for a minute and just think as a voter. What would convince you to read leaflets or listen to a campaigner? Again, those of us who’ve ‘convinced on the doors’ have a common approach; listen, observe, target message and mostly, show you can be trusted by following up!

“OK, let’s talk about these vegetables”

Door knocking is good but largely used only during elections to understand where a party’s vote already is, to ensure they ‘Get Out To Vote’ on Election Day. Sadly to canvas like a Yodel Driver on Redbull is a missed opportunity and even GOTV is a lot of effort for voters that if ‘sticky’ probably will vote for you without much prompting. If you’re making the effort to spend time in communities, why not optimise the opportunity?

Community gatherings, village/town hall meetings on local and national topics, street stalls, rallies, anywhere really that you can engage directly with people and hear what they have to say, should be grabbed with both hands! You can then understand first hand how your message is landing!

Why make the effort for direct communication?

⁃   Makes it a personal conversation, harder to ‘bin’
⁃   Interactive and shows effort to go to the voter, ‘taking yourself to their level’ to engage
⁃   Opportunity to deploy all our human communication tools; eye contact, intonation, body language etc., to land a message.
⁃   Observation, who is this voter, what are they likely to engage best on? Allows targeted messages on: health, pensions, education etc. 
⁃   Opportunity to target messaging collateral by having a selection of easy read topic focused leaflet/books to go over together and leave with them to embed message
⁃   Build the team by ‘signing up’ any supporters who want to get more involved 
⁃   Establish local contacts for GOTV to delegate to and speed up and expand this election date effort beyond stable vote
⁃   Critical source of intel on what the electorate actually want from you and HOW they want to be engaged with helps shape palatable policies people will be enthusiastic to vote for

Broccoli today vs life long broccoli fan

We seem to focus every election on the same hamster wheel campaigning ‘strategy’ with ever decreasing enthusiasm from members to ‘deliver it’ to an ever resigned electorate. Apathy should be a serious concern for all political parties!

Some voters, so put off by previous broken promises, will put their fingers in their ears and never eat broccoli again. Some will ‘hold their nose’ as they grudgingly consume blanched, bland over boiled, even reheated broccoli. Some eat it out of habit or even duty, while quietly questioning its actual nutritional value and mumbling “if things don’t change, this time is definitely my last bite” until the next helping is served up!

How about we ditch the reheated mush and go wild? Learn what voters tastes really are and make our broccoli, be it tender stem, purple sprouting or just green, the star ingredient in a flavour explosion! Present the electorate with menus that appeal to even to the most discerning of palates and that people just can’t get enough of!

THEN, get the campaign broadcasting going, on all channels with a high quality, simple message that voters know there’s substance behind and quality ingredients. Playback that you’ve listened to them and created something special, both FOR them and critically, WITH them!

It’s (past) time for politics to move from a transactional “just eat the broccoli (again)”’ to a long term, mutually trusted relationship with the electorate. Micro campaigning is not easy, it’s hard work but it is worth it, if we’re to build a stable electoral base that’s understood and that understands us.

To create a new, thriving independent Scotland we need a store cupboard of ingredients and array of innovative skills!

How adaptable political parties will be to change, only time will tell. If they do look for inspiration, they’d be wise look to the grassroots Masterchefs. Not only are they multi skilled and creative, unencumbered as they largely are by personal political ambition, but they essentially don’t pack up the kitchen at end of election cycles!

Let’s not allow old school passive political campaigning to try to turn our creative activists into broccoli boilers, let’s instead inspire a nation of chefs to satisfy an electorate of real connoisseurs!

Bon appetite Scotland!

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 2022: setting up a sitter for Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Scotland’s Future History 2022

U.K. Gov, after a disastrous response to the Covid19 pandemic, topping the death and long term impact charts, compounded with imposition of chaos from an ideological, ill prepared Brexit, filled U.K. media channels with scandal after scandal! 

As confidence in U.K. Gov crumbled yet UK Tories upped the rhetoric (even on their “lightweight” colleagues from Scotland) how did our Scottish Gov respond?

The people returned the party formed to deliver Indy (SNP) at every election since 2014, so the peoples’ intention is clear!

So what intention did Scotland’s Parliamentarians both in Holyrood & Westminster show? 

Many words were shared across media outlets but to what end? Scotland hasn’t voted for a Tory Gov for two generations so we’re already convinced that their interests are not in our interests.

So where was the strategic focus for using this culmination of anger at the state of a U.K. the 🌎 knows was broken? Was was focus to set a clear, compelling prospectus for our future: 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 determined by no one but the folk who live here?

You can’t demonstrate self determination by just reaction to those who oppose you! 

To breath the necessary energy into the people of 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (battered by political failure) needed decisive action to empower them and bring everyone to the table to shape a vision that will see 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 thrive for us all!

That takes self confidence, determination & intent. Scot Gov were empowered to lead 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 by example!

The independence ball ⚽️ they ducked & dived to avoid for 7 years, when they happy to keep their power in the backroom, harrumphing while cutting half time🍊, was now firmly in their field of play: would they play it?

When we look back on 2022, will it be the turning point in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 finally securing our independence 🏆 or will Scot Gov fail to capture the nation’s sense of urgency and desire for real change and miss a politically strategic opportunity sitter in front of an open 🥅 while cutting 🍊