Aside from the odd angry moment, campaigning with ‘Yes’ in Kelvin this morning was very pleasant. It was also rather different from yesterday’s ‘No’ door knocking, and not just because the two areas are not at all similar.
‘Yes’ bussed their supporters from a campaign base out to their target streets. Then they split off in pairs to canvass different streets. This was entirely different to the ‘board’ set up that ‘No’ used yesterday in Rutherglen. The aim was to get leaflets through the door and chat to anyone who answered. There was no collection of data on voting intention or what time the person who answered the door intended to vote, which was what Labour were doing yesterday. Instead, the campaigners launched into lovely long debates with anyone who cared to chat to them. Polite, friendly debates that the voters by their front doors were clearly keen to have.
Jim Flynn and Neil Molloy, who I followed for the morning, were keen to talk about the virtues of separation from Westminster, of Scottish politicians getting the glory and the blame for how the country fares, and of governments in Scotland that Scottish voters had elected. Jim is an SNP member, but used to be Labour, while Neil is a floating social democrat voter. Neither were impressed with Labour these days (‘Tories in pink frocks!’ said Jim).
Which was the better operation, Labour No or the Yes camp? The two sessions I’ve attended in the past two days will not be entirely representative of their respective national campaigns, which unlike a stick of rock will vary depending where you cut. But the Labour lot seemed more organised, presumably because Labour is an experienced ground war party, while the Yes troops today were more enthusiastic and passionate. Even ‘No’ voters congratulated the two men on their impressive campaign.
Yes don’t have the media on their side – only one paper has come out in favour of independence – so their focus is so much more on grassroots support. Perhaps this makes them appear more sincere and energetic.
The differences between the two campaigning operations that I saw do to a certain extent mirror the differences between the two campaigns. No has been technical and head-based, while Yes has appealed to the heart. We’ll see tomorrow which out of organised heads or passionate hearts is the better.