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Lochaber More Yes

Reflections on a Yes Campaign day on Fort William High Street

First impressions

The weather forecast wasn't very optimistic and the rain on the car windscreen, as we drove towards Fort William, confirmed the gloomy outlook. It wouldn't matter too much to us, the campaigners, as our stall was going to be situated at the Tweedale buildings so we would be under a roof. If the rain came and then forgot to leave it might seriously reduce the number of people wandering about the High Street. Which in turn would mean fewer signatures collected and a reduced chance to answer questions.

First job, on arrival, was to park the car and start unloading the leaflets, banners, window stickers, button badges and other essential tools of the trade. The second job was much more onerous. The previous, and first, time we had held a stall in this location we had discovered the area to be liberally coated with pavement pizza. This time we thought we were ready. Containers of water, brushes and hard surface cleaner were deployed but it was really difficult to make an impression on it. The makers of SuperGlue should research the properties of this stuff.

Yes Lochaber Street Stall group
Yes Scotland Campaign Lochaber activists in February 2013

There Be Dragons

Some of my first signers were a group of Italian visitors from Genova (Genoa) who were very keen to sign the Yes Declaration. They were so keen that they came rushing over to me rather than being approached; and rushing over wasn't an exaggeration. They had a particular interest in the large Saltire displayed at the back of our stall and wanted to know the history of our flag. They also took the opportunity to tell me about the Cross of St. George which was their local regional flag and identical to the English one. Our Genoese visitors already knew about the referendum in 2014 but wanted to know everything about the current political situation. They all gave me their email addresses as I had promised to include them in our newsletter list so they could keep abreast of future developments. They wished us well for the campaign and I urged them to be careful for the remainder of their mountaineering holiday.

Love Is All Around

Although the signatures from our Italian friends won't count towards the national tally there were plenty of visitors from elsewhere in Scotland who would be included in the one million target. It wasn't until I had talked to my third vacationing couple when it dawned on me that two days previously had been St. Valentine's day and this was the nearest weekend. Lochaber was certainly a romantic destination this year as I spoke to several other couples who admitted to being on a Valentine's trip. However, the couples weren't so lost in each other that they couldn't have a political discussion about the merits of independence.

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes

The rain never really came to much, just one shower during our time outside, and the sun even shone brightly for a while. I certainly felt very warm all day as I had stout boots on and was well wrapped up plus I had my Campaign Hi-Viz vest on top. Not everyone was that warm as some of the campaigners needed hot cups of tea halfway through the day to stave off the cold. Cold or not, we managed to collect a lot of signatures and, perhaps more importantly, address lots of questions from the public about independence. Our next event will be quite soon, and personally, I can hardly wait. If you live in the Lochaber area come and join us; it is fun and very rewarding.

2013-02-25 19:55

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