The Autonomy Scotland Guide to No Voters

Now we are into September the polls are shifting towards Yes, and we on the independence campaign are energised and have the momentum on our side. This narrowing of voting intention means we only need to persuade a small percentage of No/Undecided Voters to believe that Scotland as a country should be Independent. All undecided voters are up for grabs and are moving to Yes at a rate of 2 to 1. Most of the No Voters are harder to persuade so to save time I have unscientifically profiled No voters to enable you to target the ones who may move to Yes.

The Loyalist

There are many people who fall into this category, which can be broadly described as those who feel a stronger allegiance to the UK than to Scotland and as such are not really interested in potential egalitarian benefits of independence as they already feel independent. They range from Orange Clad Mobile Woodwind Enthusiasts to Octogenarian Commemorative Coronation Spoon Polishers to Sir Cliff Richard Fans. There is no point trying to persuade them to vote Yes as they won’t, not intentionally anyway. We don’t have enough time to work on them. A change to Yes would be a danger to their own wellbeing, for the furthest along the spectrum it would involve overcoming so much cognitive dissonance that they would probably lose their minds and have to spend the rest of their days lying in the foetal position, smothered in Brasso, flute wedged in anus, occasionally farting out the melody to Summer Holiday. It is worth noting that the Loyalists have, at least in their own worldview, a valid reason to vote No. They feel intrinsically Better Together despite all the evidence to the contrary and have judged that the United Kingdom is already serving them well, so they can answer No with honesty and conviction when asked:

“Should Scotland be an Independent Country?”

The next two groups avoid the actual referendum question by using psychological tactics. This is necessary given the self-evident truth that:

  • Scotland is a country
  • Countries should be independent

So they invent smoke screens to avoid the obvious conclusion that putting these two statements together would bring.

The Ostrich

I have had at least ten conversations with No voters that go a bit like this.

Me                         So, how are you voting in the referendum?

Hamish                 Am voting Naw!

Me                         Really, why?

Hamish                 Cause I don’t know anything about it!

Me                         Well, there is lots of info out there on both sides of the debate so you can make an informed choice.

Hamish                 I’m voting naw anyway!

This group are difficult, but not impossible, to turn. They are what Cameron hopefully refers to as the silent majority in that they are unlikely to instigate a referendum based conversation in public, unless of course they are discussing which B-list celebrity has a more impressive tango. They are often heard spouting idioms like, ‘If it’s not broke then don’t fix it’ or ‘better the Devil you know’. ‘I don’t trust Alec Salmond’ they mutter to themselves as they stand in line for their free prescription. They will tell you they watched the televised debate but were disappointed by the tone so will stick to their No Vote, as if the TV debate was the only source of information. As Wee Eck himself is unlikely to turn up to hand them an individualised prospectus spelling out exactly how a Yes vote will affect them, the burden of persuasion lies with us Yes voters. I find a good technique with these people is to get across the positive case for Yes preferably using a Medley of Karaoke songs while my dog and cat, dressed in sequins and tutus perform in the background a short mime depicting Boris Johnson stealing gruel from a starving orphan.

If you don’t have any pets or singing ability I find that the DASDAG system often works.

Democracy And Self Determination Are Good (DASDAG)

  1. Scotland is a Country and countries are normally independent (you shouldn’t need any more points really if not talking to a Loyalist but you do)
  2. The UK is failing mainly due to a deficit in democracy which has a knock on effect on equality as shown by these stats
  3. Post Yes Scotland will be more democratic due to getting rid of First Past the Post and the House of Lords and moving power closer to the people. As such, the politicians will be answerable to the people and not to elite vested interest groups or those in marginal seats. Societies who have Proportional Representation have more political choice and are fairer
  4. The fairer a society, the better it is for all (even the Super Rich) as shown by the stats demonstrated in the Ted Talk below (note the position of the UK in all of these graphs, I hang my head)
  5. There is no movement within mainstream UK politics that is realistically going to change the UK system to make things fairer and to move the UK away from the nasty end of those graphs



The third group of No Voters are also receptive to DASDAG but first they have an impediment to overcome.

The Invalid

The Invalid for the most part doesn’t actually have any injuries, in fact they tend to be relatively healthy and well off. That said, they do constantly carry a crutch and they cling to it in the fear that a sudden burst of self-determination will result in a downward spiral into penury. If subjected to DASDAG without gentle crutch removal and a shoulder to lean on then the following response is emitted.

‘I can see what you are saying but (Insert one or two Project Fear Scare stories here)’.

Essentially what they are saying is that they agree in principle with the concept of a country being Independent and support the concept for other countries but they are a tad worried that the potential gains could be outweighed by the risks. They are scared of losing their jobs, their mortgage, their pension, their ability to find a donated kidney, the wrath of JK Rowling or the inevitable onset of the apocalypse. They are essentially worried about their standard of living post Yes.

If you did not watch the Ted video above then you should watch it now. It shows, using pesky statistics, that these fears are unfounded. It demonstrates quite conclusively that a country’s wealth is not the most important thing when it comes to a whole gamut of indices measuring standard of living. What is important in developed countries is the relative wealth within a country and this is what us Yessers are banging on about, and this is what a Yes vote will give us the power (voting system) to change. Due to confirmation bias an Invalid is unlikely to abandon their own crutch so it is up to the Yes voter to do this for them by researching the actual issues in order to leave them open to DASDAG.

Case Study: Priming Farquhar the Invalid for DASDAG

Farquhar was worried about his mortgage post Yes vote as he heard on the 6pm British state news broadcast that a country without a lender of last resort would not be able to bail out the banks putting him and other fellow Scots in jeopardy of losing their homes and potentially starting a string of events that would almost certainly culminate in a nuclear war. He believed this news verbatim and resolved not to contemplate Independence as, quite frankly, it was just not worth the risk. He confided this to Toby, an ardent Yes supporter, at the water cooler. Toby smelled a rat and went home and used a tool he and other Cybernats were using called “the internet” which is a way of obtaining information uncensored and uninfluenced by the vested interests that in his conspiracy minded view tainted the mainstream media. He found out:

  1. That several world leading economists think the UK position on currency is actually most likely a negotiating position and that there would probably be a currency union
  2. That in the previous crisis most of the money that bailed out the UK banks came from America as banks are bailed out based on where they trade not where their head office is
  3. That even if there was no lender of last resort and that bank managed to be badly run and poorly regulated enough to go tits up again, it’s assets, including mortgages, would be bought by another bank meaning that Farquhar would still have a mortgage
  4. That many countries have done really well without a lender of last resort and many eminent economists think it would be preferable for Scotland not to have one

When Toby presented this information to Farquhar he had a damascene epiphany and immediately downloaded the Wee Blue Book and set up a Yes Stall in Morningside. In order to save time researching for all of your Invalid friends it may be preferable to hand your them a copy of the 48 Lies of Better Together.



Note that while the Invalid may make some good points regarding the problems that may arise post-Independence, the arguments they use are not against the principle of Independence. In fact many are commonly heard saying that this is just not the right time for Independence. Yes voters are aware that there will be many issues that need to be resolved but could also compile a similar list of problems we will have to deal with post No vote. There are also another set of problems, sometimes referred to as Black Swans that no one can see coming and they are the ones that tend to have the biggest impact. The difference with a Yes vote is that we will have the power and the representation to tackle the issues. I don’t blame the Invalids for clinging to these manageable risks as independence can seem a daunting prospect, as can staying in the UK powerless to prevent it lurching more and more to the right. Most of us would have been happier with a Federal UK as most Yes voters are primarily interested in Democracy and Equality, not Nationalism. Most No Voters want the same but time and time again they tell me we can achieve them within the current system in the UK. This is simply not the case, we had a chance with the PR referendum but we blew it. We simply don’t have the representation in Scotland and there is not the will in the rest of the UK. Maybe there could be in the future but as we wait millions are suffering the consequences of living in one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Being independent and fully democratic is self-evidently a higher state for a country to be in. This should be the default position for all non-Loyalists. And we know this deep down. The UK is not the norm, independence is. If you speak to any person voting Yes they will sell you their own personal version of DASDAG. To close your mind to the wonderful opportunity we have been granted based on a figure of speech or a manageable set of risks is a grievous misunderstanding of our potential. Volunteering to stay within a system that is oppressing us.

In the last couple of weeks we Yessers need to target the people that we know and love who are telling us that they are undecided or are voting No and justifying their decision with an argument that dodges the fundamental question. You will not be able to convince all of the Ostriches and Invalids (or any of the Loyalists) but many are open to conversion as most of us want the same thing, a fairer more equal society. Let each one of us aim to convert at least one person to Yes in the next fortnight. We will not all succeed but as the polls are now so tight we don’t all need to.

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Bobby Hainey

Joint founder of Autonomyscotland. In my spare time I enjoy Road Cycling, Munro bagging and beer.

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