EDINBURGH, United Kingdom – The last few days in Scotland’s capital city have looked like an apocalypse for the pro-union Better Together campaign. Every street corner has a YesScotland stall and almost every shop has an independence banner in an impressive show of force. But going behind the scenes at the campaigns show a different side to the “lacklustre” unionist campaign.
Today, Breitbart London went out meeting campaigners from both sides, or rather trying to meet campaigners from both sides. In truth it was easy to find the left-wingers, greens and students backing Alex Salmond but we could not find anyone from the no campaign.
In the end we left Edinburgh City Centre and headed for some field campaign offices. The yes office had a couple of worthy lefties in a plush shop showing YouTube clips of a mildly amusing Glaswegian doctor singing pro-independence themed songs. The no campaign could not have been more different: when we arrived the shop windows had been covered so passers-by could not see what was going on inside (pictured).
We were greeted by a very likable young campaigner whose body language made it clear he did not want us there. Behind him were teams of veteran political activists from the three main parties hitting the phones and marking voting intentions on electoral registers. Behind the scenes of this, and other nondescript offices, they were calling every single voter in the country.
Speaking to other campaigners we now know this phone campaign is being backed up by a mammoth nationwide door knocking campaign. On the day of the referendum the parties will be wheeling out thousands of activists to use the data on voting intentions for a GOTV operation (Get Out The Vote) spanning the length and breadth of the country.
So far the low profile of the no campaign has led to suggestions they are complacently sitting back, but scratch the surface and it starts to look like its yes who are being complacent. Its stalls talk to their own supporters, its grubby left-wing activists march through the streets failing to engage with real voters. Instead YesScotland seem reliant on Alex Salmond’s charisma: which is not insignificant.
It is impossible to say whether people are lying to the pollsters, or even how accurate the polls are. But we do know from thousands of election campaigns across the world that GOTV works, and can tip the balance.
I wonder whether the pundits haven’t made a big mistake here. Of course, YesScotland was going to be more glitzy, and have more passionate young people. We should have guessed that all the heart it put in would give it a bump in the polls. But always remember Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservative activists have been banging on doors, finding their vote and turning it out on the day for generations.
These are veteran campaigners, seasoned through years of door-to-door battles with each other. Its now like a guerrilla war, Better Together are hitting the voters and melting away without YesScotland even knowing they were there.
YesScotland should not get complacent because they can’t see their enemy, they should get even more worried.