A LOT is being said about the state of the indy movement after the isolating lockdowns brought about by the Covid pandemic. For us in Edinwfi, our last face-to-face meeting was February 2020 so we decided to take stock over the summer. After the losses, heartbreak and sadness of Covid then we got a wee bit of new normal up and running,

Starting with a Zoom get together in May we tested the water: would any member turn up? Yes, we did, 11 of us and that included one “newbie”, no less! That wasn’t a formal meeting. It was a bit emotional, but the exhilaration was there, not just knowing there was an appetite to meet but the desire to get back to ‘doing!’ So we Zoomed it June and July, with formal meetings, trying to re-establish a routine. Though oops! A technical hitch meant we abandoned the August meeting!

But what was really energising was our OOTNABOOTers. Nothing daunted, and despite not being out with the stall, banners, leaflets and chats for twenty whole months there was a small turn out on August 3 at the East End of Princes Street. The sun shone, that helped and it was good to be back: stopping, chatting, listening.

In the main, we got a good reception, a few cheery nods, but best of all, it was obvious there was a welcoming from the majority that stopped. That really did fire up everyone. The decision taken meant it was repeated not once, but thrice: table, banner, the lot but with something new, a questionnaire. We kicked off in August in Wester Hailes, Portobello early September and the Day of Action in the Meadow, 18th September.

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What a success story that questionnaire turned out to be. We’re all volunteers in Edinwfi not professional pollsters, so no apologies for not identifying components such as age, post code areas, income bracket. Nor can we tell you how many folks didn’t want to take part. But that didn’t stop them from frequently using the stall to pick up Indy literature.

Never intended as ‘market research’, the five questions were a vehicle for Edinwfi to enter into discussion and dialogue, no doubt aimed at women, but equally we would and did explore the issues with men, too. It was a talk through, enabling us to ask, listen, and leading to the all-important ‘Indy’ question.

The same questions were asked in the 3 areas, with 157 people responding. The results from each area have been recorded, compiled and then the three amalgamated. And the majority view was: Brexit isn’t working, the UC uplift should stay, nuclear weapons should not be kept in Scotland and climate change is a priority. And the all important Indy q?

The results from Wester Hailes and Portobello were broadly similar with 64% and 59% for independence respectively and 24% and 25% respectively saying no. The Meadows had an 81% for independence and 3.5% saying no. Even taking the Nos, maybes and don’t knows into consideration, there was a straight majority for independence. Now that has to be a boost if you’re ever feeling a bit down with autumn, winter, and dark nights looming. In turn, the our work isn’t finished, not when there’s more voters to talk to, as we try to change minds.

The OOTNABOOTers haven’t stopped and weather dependent, they hope to be back in the Meadows along with Yes Marchmont Morningside, on Saturday 30th October 11 am -1pm complete with a new questionnaire! How’s that for dedication?!

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We have to take a minute and thank the Edin Yes Hub for their summer activities and the opportunity for Edinwfi to participate. Edinwfi had a turn out, bannernall, on 11th September up at the YES Hub, making a lot of noise as the Tour of Britain cycle race went past on Lasswade Road. We’ve been told there was even some sightings on tv! Thanks Mike and the Yes Hub crew, and not just for that. They took the gamble to run with the pre booked Queen’s Hall 21st September when the Yes Hub held Scotland’s Debate, with our member Selma Rahman on the panel.

Some summer then but nothing would have happened, could have been achieved without Edinwfis turning up, turning out, supporting one another, taking part, and still being there as we have to continue. Sure, it’s often hard. Sometimes it feels lonely and you can get a bit dispirited, wondering how we’ll get there. But we have to have faith, believe and hold, hold fast. We must believe. Independence…it’s coming yet for a’ that.

Edinwfi October 2020

Selma Rahman