It was perhaps Nicola Sturgeon’s words that stirred me into action more than anything else: ‘don’t wake up after the referendum and wish you’d done more’ the Deputy First Minister warned. A clever rallying call to the not-so-ardent-Nat to get involved in the referendum campaign more.
And so I thought I would go about joining Yes Edinburgh, in keeping with the apparent Yes Scotland strategy that campaigns should be local. The only problem I had was, how does one go about joining…?
I turned to Google in the first instance, naturally, but the first result upon typing ‘Yes Edinburgh’ into the search field was the Yes Sushi on Hanover Street. A fine place I’m sure, but it’ll only be changing constitutions if the salmon’s out of date.
The second Google result took me to the Edinburgh Central SNP website, a crucially separate beast to Yes Scotland (I hope). Results 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 were all Yes Sushi again and there was something about the independence rally in there on the BBC too at result 9, Yes Edinburgh West had an event at result 5 but this turned out to be a dead end.
This wasn’t going so well, Yes Edinburgh could do with a website it seems.
I then figured that the main Yes Scotland website would be more helpful. There was no clear route forwards after landing on the front page though. I can ‘become an ambassador’ but that sounds a bit too much too soon, I can ‘donate’ of course and I can ‘sign the Yes declaration’ which I’ve done already. I just want to join the Yes Edinburgh entity which surely exists in some form.
I then spot the Groups down the right hand side. There are options for ‘New Scots’, ‘Labour’, ‘LGBT’, ‘Eco Scots’, ‘Youths/Students’ and ‘Women’ amongst others. It seems Yes Scotland is an alliance of supposed minorities. Maybe I should start a ‘quite well-off, white, straight male’ group but I fear that might not go down so well. Anyway, I’m looking to be a Yes Scotland lamb happily following the herd, not a wolf dictating terms.
I turn to the ‘Events’ section of the Yes Scotland website, thinking that if I want to go to an Event in the future, this would be the place to look. I search within 10 miles of my postcode in Leith and am disheartened to see that the first event was June 2nd 2012. The website doesn’t discard events in the past. I have to click ‘Next’, one by one, through several pages to get to future events. I do wonder how many waverers would be committed enough to bother.
There is a ‘What could equality look like in an Independent Scotland?’ event on the other side of the city later this month. Maybe I’ll go, I’ve had my fingers burnt at a rather insubstantial Nat back-patting event recently though. Maybe I won’t, but either way I’ve not joined anything yet or gotten onto a mailing list. The next event incidentally is way off in March, a ‘Forum on Inter Independence, Scottish Self-Determination and Constructions of National Identity’ which, I’m sorry, sounds as exciting as reading Scottish Parliament committee minutes from 2002. The forum costs £5 to attend, if anyone reading is interested.
Beginning to get a bit fed up with this process, I turn to Twitter. Perhaps that’s the avenue for people wishing to get a bit more involved? The good news was that a ‘YesEdinburgh’ Twitter account exists, the bad news is that there is scant information about what it does or when it meets. That the last tweet was on November 24th doesn’t bode well. Still, I gave it a follow and self-delusionally chalked that up as a half hour well spent.
I began to remember when I first tried to join the SNP in Edinburgh many moons ago, and the lack of opportunities to do so on the internet. I honestly can’t remember how I managed to do it in the end but I found that some individual personalities seemed quite closed minded and happy to be big fish in a small pond, a mentality that won’t attract new recruits to the Yes campaign nor move the polls in the weeks and months to come. So the world turns on and my enthusiasm to join Yes Edinburgh dims, for today at least.
Many pundits argue that the road ahead for Yes Scotland is a long and winding one. I can testify that the road to Yes Scotland is just as arduous.