As a Scot living in London it's rather bizarre as we approach the Referendum on Scottish Independence. I feel connected yet missing out. I get that I can't vote and think it's right. Scots away can get romantic about their homeland as the number of Burns Nights around the world on 25th January every year can testify. However having been in Scotland over the summer and caught up with the fever, I now have let it slip slightly from my mind, despite the intermittent news coverage. But that just changed.
I spoke to my brother today, who lives in Glasgow and he was alight with excitement. The referendum is taking a new momentum. He was driving his car and shouting out all the stickers on the windows; YES YES YES NO YES NO NO YES NO NO. Everyone was getting involved. Most houses were sticking their views to their windows. This is politics for the people. And all the people are getting involved. He sent me this photo attached.
Cialdini's law of commitment also suggests if you write down or verbally confirm a commitment you're likely to stick to it all the way. So those stickers are likely to translate into votes.
Later my brother recounted a Radio Scotland piece about a journalist who was in Castlemilk, Glasgow. The journalist walked into a cafe with a local woman and the person behind the counter asked the local "What will you be voting: Yes or Naw?". When the woman replied she wasn't sure, the woman behind the counter said "You'd better educate yourself" and the rest of the cafe joined in saying this was too important and we all had to educate ourselves to have an opinion. There was an eruption of discussion about how everyone needed to "educate themsels" to decide. Political apathy was not an option. Voting was a necessity. The people know they are making history and they want to get involved.
Allegedly school children are wearing their opinion in badges to school. Noone is exempt. Everyone is challenged to have an opinion.
A recent piece on Radio 4 I heard talking to Jim Sillars a Labour MP who had travelled Scotland with two Iron Bru barrels and a mock stage with a mic. He talked of old fashioned politics, coming to the people. And the people are listening and deciding.
I have no idea which way it will go but I do know it will be close. There are few things I've noticed in the run up to it from a presentation and psychological point of view.
1. The Yes campaign have managed to get the positive word, people are more inclined to vote YES than NO
2. The No campaign is challenging on fear not aspiration and not selling the positives of the union.
3. The slogans have changed from Better Together to NO Thanks - an inconsistent message.
4. Alex Salmond, although allegedly losing the first debate with Darling was announced the stronger in the second debate. His clever use of coming out from the podium; using questioners first names; having open body language and using visionary language versus pointing, staying behind the podium and not using names, were all reasons for this success
5. The Commonwealth Games have just finished. I was up there a few weeks when it was on. Seeing Glasgow and Scotland look so amazing on the TV, seeing the hoards of tourists lapping up the Scottishness and buying up the souvenirs was a sight to be seen. The slogan of "The People make Glasgow" and "The Friendly Games" were not empty but every where the people of Glasgow were extra helpful and friendly. My sister was waiting for me at a street corner and had 2 or 3 people come up to ask if she needed help.
6. People like consistency and the NO vote suggests consistency. However in the Darling/Salmond debates it was clear Scotland will get more devolved powers so both sides have future uncertainty and lack clarity. This vote is a leap of faith either way.
So there is a frenzy happening in Scotland. And the Scots are certainly feeling confident. We'll see what the outcome will be after the votes on 18th September only 14 days away.
What we do know is Glasgow and Scotland and potentially England, Ireland and Wales will never be the same after that date: whatever the outcome. As my brother put it "this energy of the people could fuel 3 cities". What will happen with that energy after 18th we can only guess at.