If you are currently undecided I affirm your choice (or lack of it). It’s not that I don’t have a bias towards where I hope you end up but in an occasionally shrill landscape I don’t want you getting caught in the crossfire.
Say what you like about the objectivity and accuracy of polls, anecdotal evidence, campaign feedback etc etc – one thing is consistent – a pretty big chunk of undecideds. I think it is often quite unhelpful when breathless pundits give us the statistics with the undecideds removed. These voters have essentially been denied their democratic right. The results with undecideds factored out distorts the result by saying – if those undecideds ken, if they dinnae turn oot fer it – then this is how we think it will go (according to methodology etc etc).
This is folly – we should never forget the undecideds in the debate – for they have been so vibrant. Usually in an election most people swing one way or the other or stay at home. For this referendum voter turn out is expected to be dizzyingly good. These undecideds don’t represent a vacuum – an absence – they represent a great force. What makes for a great debate and contest is
they walk among us.
Unlike a lot of elections which are decided by a recognisable social strata often locatable by postcode – we don’t know where these undecideds are. The polls and the pundits will tell you it’s more or less likely to be x or y but they don’t know. It’s not a few sleepy villages – there are undecideds everywhere and that’s great for the debate. It means we the voters still hold the cards.
The politicians (who we are not voting to elect and are simply interested parties, pun intended) tend to thrive on hoarding all the data and narrowing the debate to specific trigger issues which will alarm or galvanise key sectors if the vote often in a very specific geographical area. We often have to play along. Well thanks to all the hard thinking, heartwarming, soul searching of the undecideds they no longer have that luxury. People are not simply voting on tribal lines. People who voted for SNP at Holyrood are thinking about voting No and folk who have voted Labour and Tory all their lives are considering voting Yes.
Because even if the pundits and politicians forget – we the people know this bigger than reactionary tribalism.
So here’s to the undecideds. Thank you for not simply falling into line and wrestling with this. Ultimately come voting day you will have to make a decision but until then keep asking imaginative and hopeful questions. Push the debate out of the ‘he said – she said’ and into the ‘she dreamt – he sang.’