by David – originally posted on Wee Ginger Dug
When I was wee, I remember two people who came knocking on my mum’s door to sell things. Onion Johnny – who in those innocent days probably really did come from France – sold onions from his bicycle. And the Betterware man sold brushes from an ancient suitcase that would definitely not conform to 21st century branding standards.
Mum was always very polite, and always bought onions, and I think sometimes bought a brush as well – it’s hard to be sure. While everyone in the house ate onions, only mum used brushes. The Betterware man “had a bad war” which is why she bought things from him, and while I have some idea what that means now – I suspect only a few people of this generation truly understand.
Now it’s my turn to knock on doors a couple of times a week selling something to complete strangers.
It’s not something you can buy in the shops. Amazon can’t deliver it next day. And while Onion Johnny came every year at the same time, I remind my prospective customers that I haven’t been at their door for just over 300 years, and this could be their last chance to buy what I have in my bright blue suitcase. I’ll ring the next doorbell.
“Can I interest you, madam, in a public health service, free at the point of delivery?” My prospect looks a little puzzled:
“Ah’ve already got one of those.”
“I think you will find madam that the guarantee on that model runs out on the 7th of May 2015. Our model comes with a commitment from the whole Scottish nation to last forever.”
“Hmm, ah’m no sure, you’ve no got any weapons of mass destruction have you?”
“No madam, I’m afraid we are going to spend all that money on hospitals and schools and nurses and teachers.”
“It’s just that yon man wi the suit said we needed some o them to kill Rushians. He did look a bit shifty though.”
“Perhaps free education for your grandchildren, and, dare I suggest, free personal care for the elderly?“
“That sounds good, ahm no as young as ah was.” Tell me about it I muse to myself. “My quine’s loons need a job right enough, have you got ony o’ them?”
“I have a full range of jobs, except we no longer stock going abroad to kill Muslims.”
“That’s good, they’re awfa nice at the wee shop. They respect their old folk. Ah tell yi whit – a’ll hae the lot!”
“Excellent madam, now if you just vote Yes on September the 18th, we will let you have your goods shortly afterwards.”
“How much is aw this gona to cost me?”
“Cost? Cost? – On the contrary madam – we pay you. Let me see now, if I just add all of this up… Yes that’s about two thousand pounds a year you will be better off.”
Another satisfied customer. Next doorbell.
Canvassing. You know it makes sense. I love sitting in pubs vehemently agreeing with one another as much as anyone, but jiving with fellow travellers doesn’t add one vote to the tally. What was it that our Margo said? “If each of us persuades just one person to vote yes – the job is done.”
I am as new to canvassing as many of the people out there doing it. Knocking on a stranger’s door to talk about politics is definitely not my comfort zone. I have had one door slammed in my face in months of doing it, and other than that nothing but courtesy and sometimes very interesting conversations. Have I persuaded “one person” yet? I don’t know.
Can I persuade all of you reading this to come out once a week and talk to people? They don’t bite, almost none bark, it lasts an hour or so. Certainly with RIC you will be mentored until you’re an old hand. The camaraderie is excellent, the sense of purpose fulfilling. It’s the only way we will win.
This isn’t Alex Salmond versus the English, it’s the BBC and 36 of 37 “Scottish” newspapers versus self-determination for the people of Scotland. We need all the help we can get, and that includes YOU!