Saturday’s march is about independence. Above all else, it will be an expression of the dedication and passion of Scots who believe that we’re better off with independence – as a society, a democracy, an economy and a culture. But it’s also a political moment in a political campaign. That means we need to remember that we’re not just marching to show our individual support; each of us is also representing the independence movement as a whole, and the movement as a whole is representing each of us as individuals. Marchers will face intense scrutiny in the media and online, and the way we look, sound and behave will be used to draw conclusions about the kind of movement we are – conclusions that will be received and digested by the wider voting public, and may even influence their decision when they go to the polls in 2014.
With that in mind, National Collective are pleased to present our Guide to Marching – a simple selection of 12 basic suggestions that can help make our march a symbol of a modern, progressive and creative movement that wants to imagine a better nation.
- Express your passion for the cause, but in a way that is respectful and considerate towards members of the public and your fellow marchers.
- Men – by all means, wear your kilt, but maybe lay off the full outfit and go for something more modern on the top half, like a T-shirt or a hoodie: our independent vision learns from the past, but it lives in the present and looks to the future.
- Be imaginative and witty with banners, flags and songs. Our message works best when it’s delivered with intelligence, warmth and humour, and a creative campaign can build momentum for the enormous creative opportunity of independence.
- Be colourful. Pro-independence marches in Catalonia are alive with red and yellow, but we don’t need to restrict ourselves to blue and white. Follow Yes Scotland’s lead and let your palette reflect the diversity of our campaign.
- If you want to use the march to protest against Westminster policies and systems (and so you should, in many cases), try to mix criticism with hope and optimism – show how Scotland and the other nations of the UK can be fairer, more peaceful and more sustainable nations with independence.
- Show your enthusiasm for every speaker and act, not just the ‘big names’ - some of them are speaking or playing to the largest crowd of their lives, and their contributions to the campaign deserve the warmest possible response.
- Use this as an opportunity to meet people. Introduce yourself to fellow marchers and forge links between groups. An interconnected campaign is so much more powerful than an atomised one. And if you see anyone from the National Collective team, come and say hi!
- There may well be members of the press speaking to marchers. If interviewed, think carefully about what you say before you say it. In a marching atmosphere, it’s easy to get carried away – make sure your case for independence is clear, coherent and concise.
- Make one last effort before the march to bring along friends, relatives and anyone you think might be interested. The higher the turnout, the clearer it will be that this is a movement of committed and diverse Scots who are passionate about our prospects with independence.
- If you’re not going all-out already, make this the starting point for your own personal campaign. If every one of us converts just one person to independence, we’ll win. Use the enthusiasm of the march as a springboard for your efforts from now until 2014.
- Bring an umbrella or a raincoat. You’re in Scotland.
- As a final point, have fun and remember to smile! You can be pretty sure people will notice us, and there will be cameras – bring your own as well – and the visual impact of a huge, happy and enthusiastic crowd turning out for independence can’t be overstated. See you on Saturday!