I was in Wales last week where I had more conversations about the Referendum than over the last six up here, writes Sally Gillespie... So I went to Hawick today (Wednesday) to catch up. And found more Welsh at it again, or rather, a bunch of Plaid Cymru councillors were rumoured to be going round town for the Yes camp. “And what’s more” said a woman brandishing tablet in the Yes campaign’s HQ in Howgate, “they paid their own way. Not like the Labour and Tory (something-or-others) they shipped in to...” I lost interest.
It’s a tough call; the Yes camp may have had tablet but at least one of the Better Together lot had sparkly footwear, even for door knocking.
Off the trail, the Yes-ers expected a flash mob to dance and party briefly at the Horse at about 6pm while No Thanks’ John Lamont MSP was doing a charity fun run at Kelso Races at 7pm.
Both commented on the nature of campaigning and how it had celebrated Scotland and Scottishness.
Back at Yes HQ a woman rushed in and said ‘Make sure you give them tea and biscuits and tell them where the toilets are’, fairly much covering the practicalities of keeping your volunteers on the road.
One of those manning the office, a retired electrician and a Nationalist since childhood, said passionately: “I want Scotland to be an independent country.
“The No voters will never change their perspective. Their minds are closed. They walk by and their heads are down, the Yes ones are smiling: we know we’re getting there,” he said.
The No campaigners heads were not down; they were up, gasping for air as they climbed the hills of Hawick’s Weensland area asking residents how they would vote. One turned out to be a friend I hadn’t seen since we’d last bumped into each other and compared failed diets three or so years ago. We carried on where we left off: ‘you look fabulous’ ‘I like your hair that length’ ‘daughter’s now in ...”
In between times, she found a resolute Yes voter. People with differing views had been nice, on the whole she said: only one large Glaswegian had told her to ‘Bugger off’.
Tamworth MP, Chris Pincher, drove up from Staffordshire yesterday: “I felt it was important to come here and help. I haven’t got a drop of Scottish blood in me (Welsh and Irish yes, but no Scottish). I wanted to come and say, forget the accent, we are stronger together. We have got a tremendous history together, why would you want to smash up that association with a big stick, particularly at a time when the world is in a more dangerous state (than it has been) for quite a while?”
On the way to the hill-climbing door-knockers, I’d passed a woman who wouldn’t say how she was going to vote. Her friends were Yeses and she knew of families where older members were Nos, the younger ones Yeses. But it’s nothing like the Common Riding women riders again? “Oh no, nothing like that,” she said.
Polling stations open at 7am tomorrow.