Just a quick post tonight because I'm very, very sleepy. One of the unexpected side-effects of the fundraiser last month is that when people ask me what I do for a living, the most logical answer is "I'm a crowdfunded blogger", because that's - albeit only temporarily - my biggest single source of income at the moment. I'm then often asked a follow-up question about the nature of the blog, and that's led on to discussions about politics that in the past I haven't really had. (I've overheard lots of conversations about the referendum over the last eighteen months or so, but very rarely participated in them.)
Yesterday I had a chat with a committed No voter, and it was interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly (and very unfortunately) it seems that Yes campaigners had chapped on her door and taken entirely the wrong approach - they got her back up by very aggressively challenging her views, and asking her "so you want David Cameron to do X/Y/Z to Scotland?" She said they just weren't interested in listening. It was very dispiriting to hear that, given the fine reputation that Yes canvassers have built up, but I suppose with so many people involved in the ground operation it's inevitable that some will be more sure-footed than others.
The other thing she said was that she was worried about an independent Scotland not being a member of the UN. I did a sort of double-take at that point, because I assumed she meant the EU, but she really did mean the UN. I pointed out to her that practically every independent state in the entire world is a member of the UN, but her response was that there are no guarantees - we'd have to apply, and no-one could possibly know for sure what the outcome would be. I suggested that we could be pretty sure, given the UN's track record of hardly ever rejecting anyone. Although she conceded that the risk was very small, she insisted that uncertainty was uncertainty, and that this was entirely typical of what people were being asked to vote for by the Yes campaign. "Unless we can know..." she said.
What can we do in the face of a belief that even the tiniest and most implausible of risks should be sufficient to automatically preclude any positive decision to make a change? It leaves very little room for discussion in the context of this campaign unless the belief itself can be challenged. I suppose the one possible antidote is to remind people that a modest amount of uncertainty is an unavoidable part of life - as individuals we deal with small risks every day without ending up cowering in a corner, and voting No carries as much uncertainty (probably more) as voting Yes does. But I didn't say any of that, because to someone already exposed to an unwanted hard-sell on her own doorstep, I think it could easily have sounded like more of the same. So I mainly just listened.
Maybe this is an incorrect interpretation, but what I take away is that there are some situations where the most constructive thing we can do as Yes supporters is to simply reassure people that we do respect their own views.
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While I'm vaguely on the subject of the fundraiser, I should take this opportunity to apologise for the fact that the Backers page still isn't up. I've made a start on it, but it's a much, much more time-consuming exercise than I ever expected, because I have to cross-check 169 emails from Indiegogo to make sure that no-one who requested anonymity is wrongly included. I'll finish it as soon as I can - I know it's not the main reason that people donated, but it's important all the same.