Over the past year, hundreds of events organised by the Yes Scotland campaign across the country have seen dozens of supporters pounding pavements and engaging with the public in inventive and traditional ways. The Yes Edinburgh Super Saturday events bring a large group of Yes advocates together to show the collective strength of the city campaign, similar in scope and opportunity as the successful RIC Easterhouse Mass Canvass initiative. The first such Super Saturday in early February was a positive start in Edinburgh’s Pilton, Drylaw and Muirhouse areas – with solid pro-Yes canvass returns (43% Yes, 20% No, 37% undecided) and many newly registered to vote.
The second Yes Edinburgh Super Saturday launched in Edinburgh on March 1st outside Tynecastle High School. SSP Lothian comrades are proud to take their place with other Yes campaigners in and across Gorgie. It was a broad mixture of attendees: with grizzled party hacks mixing freely with the fresh-faced and eager. There was also a considerable number of new and apprehensive activists, very many for whom it was their first time on the streets. This apprehension soon vanished as their confidence bloomed. This broad mixture shows Yes to be a true grassroots movement, unlike the UK OK campaign which is funded by the rich, safe and certain. This subsequently fails to attract any convincing level of activism.
The practicalities of dividing campaign work among such a large group of activists had its issues on the first Super Saturday, and organisational lessons were learned and solutions found for the second. We divided up into leafleting, canvassing and street stall teams, got our assignments, spread out all across the area and got to work. Quick, straightforward and painless.
The most inspiring thing for me about the Super Saturday was the many new activists who found they had a knack for persuasion and activism. A former teacher – but first time campaigner – stood her ground, delightedly debating Scotland’s better future with a stopping cyclist. I discussed, answered questions and debated currency, jobs, welfare and economic possibilities with interested Haymarket travellers. It’s growing increasingly clear that conversation-by-conversation, street-by-street and door-by-door, the Yes campaign (and the SSP’s voice within it) is percolating and engaging with the economic, democratic, social, cultural and international prospects for an independent Scotland.
SSP national co-spokesperson Colin Fox was also on the Gorgie campaign trail. He said: “I thought hundreds of St Johnstone fans had turned up [outside Tynecastle] for a game until I realised it was Edinburgh Yes supporters bedecked in all their blue coats, bags, hats and cars turned out for ‘Super Saturday II’. It is great for morale to see so many Yes supporters as this out together, working alongside one another in such a well co-ordinated way. Well done to Fraser [Thompson] and his team for putting it all together. There is a great deal of work goes on behind the scenes as it were in preparing it all. But it is worth it as it works really well.”
The next Super Saturday is on the 5th of April. Across Edinburgh, those seeking a Yes vote will be working within Wester Hailes & Sighthill, perfect ground for the Scottish Socialist Party to make an impact and make our contribution. Those new to Yes Scotland campaigning will be looked after, paired up with more experienced activists. Any and all who can come are most welcome!