To move forward we must first understand how we got to where we are just now.
So, here is our analysis of the formation of the grass roots movement, it’s growth and it’s current position.
On the calling of the referendum, the SNP, civic pro indy bodies, the Greens and SSP created, funded and appointed a leadership to YES Scotland.
This Yes Scotland leadership, with the yes supporting political parties, produced media output, campaign strategy and policy, central to this was the encouragement of community based campaigning groups and shops.
These Yes shops and campaigning groups then started popping up spontaneously all around the country. Independent, autonomous and local, each of these groups then made contact with yes Scotland HQ. For advice and merchandise.
Funds were raised locally and YES gear was paid for locally. Each shop and YES community group grew their campaign locally.
From the beginning each of these groups were local umbrella organisations that included party political activists, non-party political activists, a newly politicised general population, FB pages, websites, outreach projects – all in total support of the YES vote!
These groups and shops became the central focus of public participation and interaction with the yes campaign.
For every yes group or shop that formed, there was a unique local balance of all these attributes, and it was from each of those balances of local priorities and knowledge that gave the grass roots movement it’s autonomous and locally focused power.
In the same way that each of these groups went to yes Scotland HQ to buy their merchandise and unify under the strong central brand of YES, so the individual activists of these groups, went to websites such as Wings/ Bella / Newsnet, and to independent campaigning organisations such as Radical Independecer / Common Weal / Women for independence and others, to self educate, develop their YES arguments and begin to project to the general public the positive, hopeful and practical message we all recognise now as the bedrock of the Yes campaign and movement.
This was the grassroots, and that process of formation, growth and self-education happened largely independent of any Yes Scotland input.
Yes Scotland still had responsibility and control over Media output and official Yes campaign strategy. Yes Scotland was still the visible leadership nationally and the sole supplier to the shops and groups of Yes gear, but in reality, the yes groups were running their own local campaigns, prioritising messages, organising events and raising funds to purchase their campaigning Yes merchandise.
This Gradual dislocation of Yes Scotland HQ ‘leadership’ from the day-to-day grass root running of the campaigns on the ground manifested itself in many ways during the campaign.
On a purely practical level, as the grassroots campaign reached a crescendo, the centralised YES HQ became a supply and distribution bottleneck for much needed campaign merchandise. Restricting the effectiveness of the grassroots to visibly maximise support and fundraising among the general population.
Secondly, the official media output and campaign policies of Yes Scotland HQ no longer completely represented the views of the grass roots opinion.
A good example of this divergence were the spontaneous grass root ‘ Anti BBC bias’ demonstrations.
These important events were first ignored, then frowned upon and finally lead to Yes Scotland ‘ confirming’ to the MSM that there was, of course no anti Yes Bias being displayed by the BBC!
Not a view easily found among the grass root campaigners and effectively a misrepresentation of grass roots opinion by their ‘official’ leadership and ‘our’ Main stream media voice.
Part Two >>>