At the start of this New Year it is easy to feel frustrated, annoyed even at the lack of progress towards independence. However we have come so far and some would say our country has already begun to behave and carry itself like we are already independent.
It is not in the bag yet however and as we have seen with those in charge of Brexit, shooting yourself in the foot is a common human trait which Yessers should not assume we are immune from.
That being the case we thought we would highlight just three basic simple guidelines for keeping the Yes movement on track and in good shape. No crash dieting is required.No fancy food supplements, just these three fundamental principles. The implications of not upholding these should be obvious to people.
1. Always stay positive
The entire Better Together campaign in 2014 was based on fear. Fear about pensions, fear about jobs, fear about not being able to stay in the EU! After the vote in September that year those behind it even gloated about it in interviews- “we could not have won without project fear'”
As the New Year starts there is the usual barrage of negative press undermining the work of the Scottish Government. Accident and Emergency, Rail Travel ,Road Closures- these are all now seasonal anti-SNP stories.They appear as regularly as clockwork.
In our own Yes social media however we see that same negativity being perpetuated.Its is planted by the main stream media and Yes people feel they have to join in and spread their message for them. Why?
We need to stay positive and resist the temptation of the negative comments on our own pages. We know there are Unionist trolls there stirring it up. Don’t rise to the bait, and lastly follow the new RTA guideline- Read The Article first before letting off steam!
2. Humour is essential
When we make a joke about politics or share some satirical comment it is intended to help us be more resilient. We are not setting out to belittle an issue or take away from the seriousness of the situation we are in.
The old phrase ‘you have to laugh or else you’ll cry’ is very true right now and that is why Humour is Essential.
Psychology tells us that the most effective first responders in front line rescue roles are often reliant on humour as a coping strategy. It is vital to helping people become more resilient.
You can’t control reality, but you can manage how you adapt to it. — the most significant lesson: assess the situation rather than distort it through your emotions.
Reframing, in this case cognitive reframing when training first responders is essential to ensure those people are not themselves damaged by the process of doing their job.
Crucially the same techniques are what the Yes movement needs to grasp in order to ‘reframe’ the arguments to win over people from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’.
We all need to look after our mental well being if we are going to win our Scotland’s future.So let’s start the year by being good to each other .
Having a laugh does not mean we are not less serious about the state of the economy or the mess the Tories are making of Brexit, or the threat to undermine our parliament in Scotland. On the contrary we need to be resilient enough to see it all the way through.
3. Remember we are being manipulated
Most important of all is this one. We know or should know by now the extent to which they will go to undermine Scotland in order to maintain the union.
The Brexit vote and the investigations into illegal spending are the tip of a very nasty iceberg of social media survey sampling and targeted advertising
As people already with an independence mindset it is easy to get frustrated at those who do not see beyond the tabloid front pages.But we have to find a way to communicate with them. Understanding how the media works and how people are guided this way and that by mainstream media hand in hand with politicians is really important.
It is no longer the case that we can assume the media are in total control.They are not. Brexit is a walking disaster for the Tories with another crisis everyday. What is the media role then? It is usually to say ‘oh look over there at the drone problem at Gatwick or Heathrow airport, just don’t look at the mess the UK government are in’.
They frequently get it wrong and people can see the weaknesses and deceit. Brexit is a classic example. But what also happens is that people get turned off from participation.
Disengagement and disempowerment is another strategy of the political media- when it suits the state to have a disengaged electorate in order to ensure the status quo remains un-challenged.
Encouraging people to analyse the press and media is vitally important. There are too many of us who just read the headlines then make comments that do not stand up to any reasoned argument.
‘Knowing our stuff’ is what we should aspire to.But when we don’t we can always say ,’ but I know someone who does’.
Internally within the Yes community there are people out to press buttons and sow discontent.So the manipulation is at all levels.
Marches and demonstrations however are great reinforcers of solidarity among us and anybody who took part in any of the great AUOB marches during 2018 will remember the feelings of strength ,commitment and the thirst for social justice.
The eye has to remain on the prize of independence in order to bring about the socially just more equal Scotland we all yearn for. By following and communicating these three basic guidelines we think we will last the race to cross the line as winners.