How the Yes campaign’s bottom up approach has challenged Scotland’s ‘presumed consensus’

Mike Small runs one of the best known and most respected of the Yes campaign sites online, Bella Caledonia. His piece for the Guardian gives an useful overview of where the momentum for the Yes campaign has come from…

1. It is a movement, not a campaign: 

On a purely practical level yes is just better organised. As the New Statesman points out: “The yes campaign is winning on almost every front. It has delivered more leaflets, put up more posters, set up more stalls and knocked on more doors.”

2. It reaches disaffected voters:

Yes knows that it has to reach beyond traditional engaged voters to win. This isn’t a campaign strategy though, it’s a political aspiration. This work has been going on for months.

3. The no campaign presumes victory:

…the ingrained sense of entitlement that the no campaign’s key staff and supporters exhibit is a crucial weakness. They live in such well-established network of self-reinforcing mythology that the idea of independence hadn’t quite struck them as being feasible until a few days ago.

4. It has passion

There’s a feeling that the yes movement is defending the fabric of society against the austerity union, while the no campaign is defending a right to live in the 1950s. It makes a difference.

5. It has multiple points of leadership

The yes movement has hubs which in turn have their own network. This breeds trust and unity but also allows spontaneity and diversity. While the no campaign has a few outliers it would prefer not to mention, yes has outliers that bring strength and fresh clout, not a sense of shame.

To this last it might be added that the Yes campaign has greatly benefitted from a considerable top down focus (not to mention application of resource) on the part of the Scottish Government, with virtually no other new business being focused on.

Westminster by contrast has been mugged (just like Irish governments regularly are) by an important supra executive issue they’d given too little thought to before the campaign began, leaving them with little more to fight with than Caveat Emptor.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty