Mobilising to win: register to vote!
In Scotland around 4 million people are eligible to vote. Many don’t. Scotland’s last parliamentary election saw just over half of these 4 million people take part.
It would not be unfair to characterise this as a “missing million” but the bigger point is that democracy or the exercise of the right to vote is something that is done in greater numbers by more privileged parts of Scotland. In many ways this shapes – and distorts – political debate.
When it comes to the referendum campaign this has never been more true. Those who stand to gain most from independence are often missing from a self-serving mainstream discussion. Our task is to re-engage people and mobilise a Yes vote that feeds into a movement for radical social change.
Voices from across the movement have been speaking out about the need to energise hundreds of thousands of people to take part in this historic referendum.
Alison Johnstone, Lothians Green MSP, said “The people of Scotland will soon decide the direction our society should move in. For the independence referendum to reflect the will of the people, it is vital that turnout is as high as possible. We must communicate what an opportunity there is to reshape politics in Scotland to benefit the many rather than the few, and the enthusiasm of national voter registration day is a fantastic chance to connect with the ‘missing million’ of disillusioned citizens.”
Professor Gregor Gall urged people to register: “Play your part in changing Scotland for the good by voting yes – make sure you are register so you can do so”.
Isobel Lindsay, a veteran peace activist, said, “This is your chance for a bit of real power. Well-off people vote. Too many of the less well-off don’t. If you want Scotland to get better, use your vote”.
John Finnie MSP asked “Who’s not bothered if you don’t register or don’t vote? The political elites who are quite happy with things the way they are, without YOU having a say, thanks very much! ‘Don’t let them away with it any longer. Register to vote then use YOUR vote to vote YES for a fairer future!”
Jean Urquhart, Independent MSP for the Highland & Islands, urged action all over Scotland, “Campaign, lobby and canvas for everyone to register and make sure that everyone, everywhere takes the opportunity to influence the future of Scotland.”
Shona McAlpine of Women for Independence said, “You may be young, you may be skint, you may feel that no-one bothers about you, but if you have the vote you have a voice and opportunity to make a real difference to Scotland.’
Dennis Canavan, Chair of Yes Scotland’s advisory board: “Voting YES will empower the people of Scotland to bring about radical change. But first you must register to vote. Do it now so that you will be empowered to vote YES for a better Scotland.”
Colin Fox of the Scottish Socialist Party: “The 1,000,000 Scots who are not registered or don’t vote are affected by political decisions just as much as those who do, but they don’t influence them in any way. My advice: Don’t be taken in by those who say your opinion isn’t important or it can’t change things or even that all parties are the same. None of that is true. Our democracy is at risk if you don’t vote. And the alternative is worse, far worse.”
Sarah Collins, Chair of the STUC Youth committee said in a personal capacity, “This is not like a normal election. Its not about parties, but about ideas. We need to reach out to a generation of people who have only been able to vote for neolibralism and war.”
Radical Independence Campaign groups are active all over Scotland. All of the information you need to get involved, from activities, setting up your own group and shaping the campaign can be viewed here: (link no longer works)
Take this opportunity not only to register to vote, but to play an active part in winning a new Scotland based on social justice and peace.