Yes campaign foot soldiers spread the word on the streets...

THEY are out in all weathers, leafleting and knocking on doors pushing for a goal they believe is moving ever closer within their grasp.

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Yes campaigners claim the word on the street is positive
Yes campaigners claim the word on the street is positive

The foot soldiers of the Yes Scotland campaign are out spreading their message in the community, trying to persuade the undecided and sometimes arguing with opponents, that Scotland should be an independent country.

On a wet bank holiday weekend, the Yes Kelvin team were putting in the hours and the miles doing the grassroots campaigning.

When others were enjoying a holiday Monday, Patrick Grady was manning a stall on Byres Road.

It was set up with car stickers, large window posters, badges, papers and leaflets and a white board where people were urged to write what they want from an independent Scotland.

Four men and women were on the stall speaking to people, while others were in the busy street handing out leaflets

Mr Grady, one of the local co-ordinators was the organiser on the event. A member of the SNP since 1997 when he was a teenager at school, he is now devoting most of his free time to the independence campaign.

Mr Grady, said: "I have seen the campaign for independence grow from an SNP idea to Yes Scotland campaign and now it is even more - it is a Scotland- wide campaign.

"To see the response we are now getting is encouraging, it gives us a sense of what is achievable."

During the afternoon a steady stream of people engaged the team in conversation. Most appeared to be pro-independence, stocking up on badges and stickers to display their support.

However, Mr Grady was not in for an easy ride, with more than the rain to contend with, as two men approached.

One man, who said he was undecided, asked about the likelihood of a currency union. Not satisfied with the answer, a lengthy and challenging conversation ensued which developed into a detailed case being put that Scotland would be in a worse position financially if independent.

It became obvious Mr Grady's response using arguments outlined in the Scotland's Future document was not going to satisfy and the 'undecided' was in fact a confirmed no voter.

Paul Bassett, was in charge of the white board and marker pen gathering the thoughts of passers-by for a better Scotland. He was one of the previously non-party political campaigners who have for the first time become involved in a political campaign.

HE said: "It is about democracy and people taking control. We need to be out here fighting for it but not preaching to people.

"Some people are undecided so we need to engage them."

Mr Basset said he joined the SNP as a result of the campaign but he said it was much bigger than a political party.

He said: "It has gone way beyond one party now. It is not about the SNP or Alex Salmond.

"Of course there are people who are party political and we wouldn't have got to this stage if it wasn't for the SNP, but it is much more than that now."

The college lecturer said he probably spends around 12 hours a week campaigning in various ways, particularly around the theme of people's hopes for a future Scotland.

Another activist, Emma Sinclair, a teacher, plans to spend most of the summer on the campaign.

She said: "I have been a member of the SNP for a long time, but this is different to campaigning in an election.

"There have been more positive responses from people who identify with other parties. People are really interested and engaged in the debate."

The day before, from their shop front office near Charing Cross, Mr Grady was leading a team of four preparing to hit the high-rise flats of Town-head, armed with campaign leaflets and newspapers.

Mr Grady, a charity worker spends most of his free time on the campaign.

On Sunday he was knocking on doors, on Monday he was in Byres Road.

Tonight he is helping with tele-phone canvassing from a base in the South Side and tomorrow he will open the Charing Cross base for people to collect newspapers and leaflets to distribute.

Of the four heading to Townhead, two are SNP members and one a city councillor, but the two others belong to no political party and are not SNP supporters.

ELAINE Black, a self- employed researcher, gives up weekends to support the campaign.

She said: "The most important thing I do is speak to family and friends. I also use social media as that is increasingly where people are getting information from."

Gavin Templeton, a psychiatric nurse, is another non-party Yes campaigner.

He said: "I am out doing whatever I can whenever I can. I've never campaigned before but I have found people to be positive. Most are decent and polite with a range of sophisticated inquiries."

stewart.paterson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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