Back in the early days of the first indyref, Yes Scotland designed some cards asking people to places themselves on an independence scale from 1 to 10, and they told us activists to knock doors, ask the questions and fill out the cards.
I did exactly that (being a bit literal-minded), but I soon realised that most other activists took it as an opportunity to talk to people about the benefits of independence. In retrospect, I think most of the conversions from No to Yes were due to these conversations — much more so than the targeted materials Yes Scotland will have sent to some people based on the classification on the cards.
I’m mentioning this because the SNP recently launched a huge National Survey that asks even more questions than the small cards Yes Scotland sent out, and they’re asking their members to get as many people as possible to answer the questions.
What I’m wondering is whether they just want us to go out and record the answers, or is it really just an excuse to campaign on the doorstep? If it’s the former, it won’t change many minds (but it might tell the SNP who the soft No voters are and where they live), but if it’s the latter, we really could do with some new pro-independence campaign materials to aid us in the conversations.
It’s really a catch-22. It would be easier to campaign if the campaign had been officially launched and we were backed up with materials and all that. Also, many people won’t change their opinion on independence before somebody talks to them — they won’t just have a eureka moment in the bath one morning. However, the SNP clearly doesn’t want to launch the campaign prematurely and there are many indications that nothing will happen before Yes has clearly overtaken No in the opinion polls. So opinion won’t shift before we start campaigning for real, but we won’t start campaigning before opinion has shifted.
This makes me think National Survey is probably a campaign in disguise. They hope that we will all campaign hard on the doorsteps while pretending it’s just a listening exercise, so that opinion shifts enough that the official campaign can start.
Perhaps it’s the right way forward, but annoyingly it means we’ll have to create campaign materials on our own instead of getting them from Yes Scotland II or the SNP. I just wish the real campaign would start, but then I’m of course really impatient given my status as an EU migrant.