Information without inspiration is insipid

So, Believe in Scotland has been “the engine of the grassroots Scottish independence campaign” for nearly four years. During which time the polls flatlined. For a group whose stated goal is to “goal is to shift independence polls”, that’s not much or a record on which to base yet another dip into the pockets of independence supporters.

The success of a political campaign is measured, not in the number of leaflets you distribute, but in the effect that your message has on the electorate. Can anybody point to any evidence of any effect at all?

Business for Scotland/Believe in Scotland pushes information onto people. Ninety percent of those people don’t even read the material. Of the remainder, ninety percent are unaffected by the information, for one reason or another. Thus, dumping millions of leaflets on folk ends up having no measurable impact.

There is a very simple reason for this. A reason well understood by experienced political campaigners and marketing professionals. People don’t act on what they know. People act on what they feel. Whether you’re selling insurance or chocolate biscuits or political ideas, people don’t act on what they know about the thing you’re selling. They act on how they feel about the person doing the selling and how they feel about the brand and how they feel about the company.

This is a sweeping generalisation, of course. But it is accurate enough for most mass campaign purposes. Generalisations are generally true of the generality of people. When your target market is the entire electorate of a nation, going with the generalisation will tend to serve you well.

It’s not business-people with graphs and charts and statistics and studies that Scotland’s cause needs. What Scotland’s cause needs is compelling, charismatic leadership and a message which addresses the voters at an emotional level.

Scotland is a nation, not a business enterprise. We won’t move people with a dull, dry business plan, no matter how many leaflets are shoved through doors and thrust into the hands of commuters and shoppers. We move people with a great story told by a great story-teller. Great stories are not made up of facts and figures intended to appeal to the intellect. Great stories are about people and families and communities and relationships. Great stories don’t push information at people. Great stories draw people into the tale and hold them there. Great stories don’t inform. Great stories inspire.

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14 thoughts on “Information without inspiration is insipid

  1. The National proclaims that “Believe in Scotland’s sister campaigning group, Business for Scotland, will match the first £50,000 raised pound for pound.”

    My take on this is that BiS/BfS have £50k to spare but need another £50k (minimum) for the suitably undefined “Major Yes push” in 2023.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is not principally about campaigning for Scotland’s cause. This is about control of the Yes movement by or on behalf of the SNP. It is about about shutting down and/or shutting out any dissent from the Sturgeon doctrine. The purpose is to suck in as much as possible of Yes campaign funding and direct it only to those groups which give unquestioning support to Sturgeon and the SNP. Which might not be a problem but for the fact that the approach to the constitutional issue adopted by the current SNP leadership has been such a spectacular failure.

      Those committed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence REALLY need to start asking the awkward questions.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Agreed.

        BfS/BiS is just a mouthpiece/tool/arm of the SNP.

        I note that they have been canny enough NOT to mention that the fundraiser is specifically for the ‘Independence Referendum Campaign for the 19th October 2023 Plebiscite’. That, I’m sure, is intentional.

        The “major Yes push” in 2023 is the most committed of non-committal statements.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Let’s split that emotion thing into its components: trust, confidence, optimism, etc. All things an outfit like BfS / BiS, by its very nature, is incapable of delivering. It’s like saying Keep Britain Tidy (if that still exists) could deliver Brexit.

    In fact it’s glaringly obvious that the Scottish Government and it’s affiliate organisations are very much deficient in the delivery trust, confidence, optimism, etc. It’s not what middle and middling managers do, even if they knew how.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anger. Indignation. The innate sense of justice. All of this and more form part of an appeal to emotion. The people of Scotland have every right to be angry. But suggest that the independence campaign should tap the energy of that anger and you’ll be denounced as a ‘zoomer’ by the likes of Pete Wishart. No injustice was ever rectified without a sufficient amount of public anger being roused. Telling people the Union is nothing to get upset about while supposedly trying to end it is self-defeating by definition.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. For right Peter , as you say insipid/ vacuous stuff . But leaflets are the pretext for street stall interaction. Actively approaching strangers offering them a leaflet as an opening gambit often leads on to a conversation . Leaflets through doors is patently futile , the civilian equivalent of making soldiers bull their boots to keep them on their toes . We’ll wait a gie long time for charismatic leaders to show up and lead us to indy.


  4. Yes….correct Peter omho. 2014 campaign was good but not enough passion on the dignity of being sovereign in the UN family. Too much emphasis on the economic case for indy….once we accept Indy even if we would not benefit financially we will be mature enough for Independence. Did Ireland…or India or indeed any other nation vote for freedom on the belief they would necessarily be richer?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In Ireland the desire for Independence was fundamentally based on getting rid of British rule because of its cruelty towards the Irish people and its suppression of their language and culture.
      The Irish also believed the British had no right to rule Ireland and had never had that right.
      The Irish demanded “Give us the future… We’ve had enough of your past… Give us back our country… to live in – to grow in – to love” (Michael Collins)

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Just want to say Peter, I take my bloody hat off to you on this one sir, I read your excellent comments below the waffle in the National and you nailed it, and they don’t like it somebody had to say it and you did, that Dickson bloke he’s a real arseh*le.

    Anyway, as you rightly state it’s all about control, Sturgeon wants to control the indy movement or as much of it as she can, but independence isn’t the goal MacIntyre-Kemp put up some good statistics on his blog and he still does, it’s a pity he’s bought into this shit.

    We’re going nowhere as long as Sturgeon is FM.

    Liked by 2 people

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