Reflections on the Mass Canvass

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by Kris of caledonianwanderer.com

It was Friday afternoon and I was reading a post on Facebook about a “Mass Canvass for Scottish Independence” happening in an urban area where my grandmother has lived for most of her life called Seaton.

I’d been admiring the efforts of people I know getting out there and engaging with the public, but up until last week, I had just got into the habit of constantly promoting the idea of independence on Facebook. I felt there was a problem with this approach — I genuinely went through a moment of panic and thought “I need to be doing more!” This Mass Canvass event was the first big step I would have to take. I looked up comments about recent canvassing events, I read about the Radical Independence Campaign and I began doing research to prepare for the dialogue I would be having with people I would canvassing.

I managed to agree to a rota change at work with my manager in order to go along and I pledged my commitment to the cause… On Facebook of course.

Needless to say, I was nervous as hell about the whole thing. It felt like a step into the unknown. I was asking questions of myself — “but what if I don’t come across as passionate enough? What if I don’t say enough? What if other people know more facts and figures than I do?”

And so on and so on.

I’d never really done anything like this before but my attitude to life these days is “Apathy will get you nowhere, Adventures will get you anywhere”, and this would be just a new adventure to embark upon!

This Mass Canvass today was a new challenge I had to take on because I wanted to say that “I did my wee bit for independence” and if I had helped to change any minds at all then I had done my bit and I could be proud of that.

So lo and behold, I turned up at the meeting point at Seaton with that nervous tingle in my stomach. In my mind I was saying “right, just be yourself Kris, you’ve been talking to people for weeks about this subject, just do what you’ve been doing and you cannae go wrong”.

There were people of all ages and backgrounds here and we all engaged in discussions as if we knew each other for years. We were all on the same page about our vision of an independent Scotland. It just made you feel welcome and privileged to be part of it all.

I think I maybe read too much into the “training will be provided” bit and figured you had to some kind of shogun of independence where a tartan-clad sensei would be drilling us with details about the constitution, the Barnett Formula, the Scotland Act and various other statutes that are applicable to the wider campaign.

No. They were just like you and me. Ordinary folk who are all hacked off at the current administration and can see a better future without the corrupt and exhausted Westminster culture dominating political decisions in Scotland, and who all want to take full responsibility for trying to facilitate that change in our futures and fortunes.

I was paired up with Sean, an activist from RIC Aberdeen, and off we went to a tenement in Seaton to speak to residents there. Initially I thought Sean would just be doing all the talking and I would be observing and taking a few notes but within ten minutes of being there, I asked Sean, “do you mind if I jump in and give some opinions myself here and there?” and Sean said, “please do, the more the merrier mate!”

We informed and educated some people and got them off the fence and saying they would commit to a Yes vote. This manifested itself in asking lifestyle questions about themselves and linking them to current and future policies being proposed by the Westminster parties.

Needless to say, a lot of people don’t read about politics as much as say you or I do, maybe they’re just too busy with their lives to give it any thought.

One thing that was for certain though was trying to hammer home the point that this independence referendum is of great importance and significance to them, and was a real opportunity to bring about constitutional change right across the board if we all commit to it as a nation.

We also argued with one guy who was a staunch No voter. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get everyone on the Yes side and even if the guy says he is a No for now, maybe planting a seed in his head to make him think “maybe they had a point there” and he might reconsider his position come September. Maybe he won’t but perhaps one day he might look back on that day where we knocked on his door and sees how successful an independent Scotland has become and remember myself and Sean and think “Aye, those two guys were right to believe in that vision. Fair play to them.”

On that note, i just want to take this opportunity to say a big Thank You to RIC Aberdeen for all their efforts in organising this Mass Canvass, I thoroughly enjoyed our endeavours and I think they’ve certainly inspired the people who came along this afternoon.

This guy has certainly been inspired.

Well done everyone and see you at the next one folks!

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About RIC Aberdeen

The Radical Independence Campaign sees Scottish independence as the first step towards creating a fairer, greener, more democratic place. RIC Aberdeen are a local campaigning group, ordinary people who want to make a difference. We do canvassing every Wednesday night, along with other events. Please get in touch for more info.

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