Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Radical Independence Campaign gives yes a second wind

The train crash that was the independence debate last week appears to have persuaded rather a lot of yes supporters into volunteering their time in a last ditch attempt to snatch victory from what looks at the moment like certain defeat. In particular, groups like the Radical Independence Campaign have redoubled their efforts on the vast council estates which surround every major Scottish city with their slogan of Britain is for the rich, but Scotland can be ours.

It's an uphill battle, because out of a voting age population of just under 4.5 million, an estimated 300,000 are not even registered to vote and anything up to a further 700,000 probably won't bother casting a ballot.

Both the yes and no camps are aware that the legitimacy of the vote will be questioned if turnout is low, so both are encouraging people to register and then use their vote. Newspapers have got in on the act, with the Sunday Post running a registration campaign. It is possible to register up until midnight on the 2nd September, and Radical Independence activists are carrying around registration forms along with their usual information leaflets. There is even a special registration form for the homeless, who merely have to nominate a park bench or doorway as their normal abode, then they can vote at the polling station that is closest to that place. Their voter card can be sent to a church, homeless day centre or even kept for them to collect at the registration office. If people still do not vote, then it will not be for the want of trying on the part of the various campaigns.

The problem is that although the vast majority of wealthy and middle class types are likely to vote, that is not the case with the working class, as only just over half have said that they are certain to vote. You can understand their position, since if they don't vote they are ignored, and if they do they are also ignored. Many of the council estates have never been canvassed in any election in living memory. The Tories and Liberal Democrats know that they have few votes on those estates, and neither of them have enough members to canvass, anyway. Labour was happy with its one-party state, and although the SNP began to make inroads, their lack of members who could carry the message on the doorstep held them back.

The Radical Independence Movement has changed all this. If they succeed in  getting the poor to vote then Scotland will become independent. Otherwise it won't. 

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