Scottish Independence Referendum and Blogging

UnionJack-mfI'm one of the most non-political animals I know, so when I write about the Scottish Independence Referendum (that happened on September 18th 2014) there has to be a blogging / marketing connection, tenuous as it is!

If you're one of my UK readers you almost certainly can't have failed to notice the Scottish Independence campaign that declared its result this morning.

For non-UK readers, in a nutshell (and I DO apologize to serious readers here) Scotland wanted to become an independent country rather than remain part of the United Kingdom.

Yes Or No?

Being British, rather than Scottish, I had no vote in the matter and along with most people I spoke to, I vaguely imagined that there would be a “Yes” vote – that's to say, a vote in favor of Scottish independence by the Scottish voters, the only ones with a vote.

I presumed this because the only people with whom I had discussed the matter were Scottish people who were very passionately in favor of their Independence, and I assumed their passion and fervor would carry the day. This is no comment at all about the validity of their case as they have some real grievances that should be addressed.

That said, I'll admit freely that I have always have been in favor of staying a United Kingdom, but my reasons were largely sentimental – nostalgia for happy holidays, beautiful scenery, bagpipe music, haggis, (yes – really), whiskey, salmon etc – and with no logical foundation. (OK – a tinge of greed for their oil!)

Had I been offered a vote on the subject I would certainly have taken the trouble to learn more – but it was just another of those political decisions that would be foisted onto me from “on high” whether I agreed or not.

To present a non-biased blog post, here's the Independent Scotland website!

Given that I imagined my spending power would be as welcome in Scotland after either a Yes or a No vote, I just watched the debate with interest from the side-lines, wondering how all the myriad practical problems would be handled in the months to come.

For instance, on my next P&O Cruise Sail-away party, would we still be waving Union Jacks – or had P&O been quietly running down their stocks….? You get all the serious questions here!


Wake Up England!

Suddenly, about a week ago, it was almost as if everyone in the UK (who has any clout) woke up and realized the enormity of what could be about to happen.

I started receiving impassioned emails bemoaning the threatened split, Scottish music pod-casts, and invitations to rallies and marches. As if by magic, south of the border we all really LOVED Scotland and were begging “Don't leave us!”

I “Tweeted” with the rest of them. Finally someone cared what I thought….

Then the “smear and fear” mongering started, with several high profile companies currently based in Scotland leaking the news that they had contingency plans to move out of Scotland in the event of an Independent Scotland.

Not on My Watch!

The Queen was pictured glum-faced in the new-papers, and for once the leaders of our main political parties saw (more or less) eye-to-eye. They could NOT preside over the break-up of the United Kingdom. It would NOT sit well on the CV!

Scottish Independence Referendum Results Statistics

The “just in time” passion and emotion of the marketing campaign fueled an unprecedented 84% turnout – the highest in any election campaign since 1951. Almost 45% voted for Scottish Independence, 55% against.

In the end, the campaign was a close call and the United Kingdom had been snatched from the jaws of its death. It was so close run that when I woke up and heard the results coming in this morning I thought the Independence voters had won and I was sad for what England would have lost.

Then as I “came to” fully I realized we were still United; and I was glad – yet sad for my Scottish friends who believed so fervently in their cause. I hope they will see the fulfillment of the last ditch promises that have been made, and that we truly can be “Better Together”.

Passion and Fear, Marketing and Blogging

Like any good marketing campaign I believe the Scottish Referendum decision was made on emotion – Fear (of loss) and / or “Love” – real or imaginary. When it's crunch time, logic goes out of the window.

And that – dear reader – is how YOUR marketing campaigns will be won or lost. On emotion. Not logic.

As bloggers we too are “Better Together”, so I'd welcome your comments. (Who wants to blog into a void?)

If you're outside the UK did you even NOTICE all this fervor and passion South and North of the England / Scotland border?

When making purchasing decisions, are YOU most swayed by emotion or logic?

Please share

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Jan Kearney - September 20, 2014

I’m not an overly political person either Joy, yet I did pop in and out through the night to see how the votes were going!
Which ever way the voting went, the referendum was a historic moment and a kick up the backside for British politics.

The turn out was magnificent and jaw dropping. It goes to prove when our politicians talk about what people want and are passionate about, they will turn up.

It’s marketing in a nutshell isn’t it?

Personally, I rarely buy on emotion and I’m not an impulse buyer either. I analyse too much. I think I am inhuman sometimes! But I do have triggers, they tend to be external – not about me.

The recent arson attack at Manchester Dogs’ Home cracked my icy heart – I was literally sobbing thinking about the dogs that couldn’t escape and the people having to deal with it. I donated without thinking or analysing, I tweeted several times, updated my Fb and G+ to spread the word. I did my dog selfie and #hugyourhound.

An extreme example that got my card out of my purse with little effort.

I agree, good marketing hits on emotional triggers – now all I need to do is use it. You have no idea as a normally unemotional person how hard that is! 🙂

    Joy Healey - September 21, 2014

    Hi Jan

    Yes, the turn-out was the thing that really amazed me. We Brits are normally such an apathetic lot about voting. I can’t even galvanize my sons into marking their crosses. Tut-tut!

    The Manchester Dogs’ Home arson attack was horrendous. If I were to come face to face with whatever scum did that … people would see a very different side of me.

    As for buying/selling, unfortunately I’m the worst of all combinations – buy on emotion, but find it very hard to write emotive sales copy. I try to be too logical about why people should buy an xyz. It’s usually perfectly obvious to me and I spell it out 1,2,3 – when I KNOW I should be aiming for gut-wrenching, purple prose. LOL

    My copy-writing skills are “work-in-progress”.

    Thanks for dropping by. Joy

Suprabhat Mondal - September 21, 2014

Hey Joy,

i don’t know much about politics but i had read about this on Newspaper yesterday morning.
But as i don’t know much about polictics i can’t put my views here.
But i will say “Everything happens for a Good Outcome”


    Joy Healey - September 22, 2014

    Hi Suprabhat,

    Well, I would have looked into it more if I had been granted a vote!

    However, I do hope this WILL have a “good outcome” and that England and Scotland will be able to co-exist in harmony – each valuing the other for what we bring to the table.

    Thanks for dropping by. Joy

Tim Bonner - September 21, 2014

I was dreading the result Joy, I’ll be honest with you.

I voted No, not because I’m English but because I wanted to remain part of the UK. I thought it was financial and economic suicide to go it alone at this stage.

I got up at 5 am on 19 September because I was so concerned about the result but by that time it was already a foregone conclusion thank goodness for No.

It’s actually not been a particularly nice place to live up here in Scotland as an Englishman for the past couple of years. Things have become very anti-English and yes supporters have been very vocal whereas no supporters on the whole have been very quiet.

It concerned my wife and I so much that we decided we’d move South of the border if independence went ahead. For now we’ll be staying but if nationalism rears it’s ugly head and things go downhill again, I suspect we will be forced to move.

    Joy Healey - September 22, 2014

    Hi Tim

    I wondered how it had affected you. Such a shame it’s made you and your wife feel that way. However, I hope “things” settle down and that the promises politicians have made don’t just evaporate, as there are obviously some very unhappy people in the “yes” camp.

    Without looking into the economics too deeply I couldn’t actually see how independence would work for Scotland, there just seemed so MANY things to tie up.

    Anyway, I hope you and your wife will be able to stay and feel comfortable in Scotland.

    Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience.


Carol Amato - September 21, 2014

Hi Joy,

You’re talented enough to pull off this tying in, so I’m all ears… 🙂

Very interesting account – you’re a talented writer, Joy – I read every word of your article and my eyes just seemed to follow each line and paragraph because I wanted to find out the end of the story… Then you beautifully weaved it into marketing and blogging.

The segway is a thought-provoking one, and my answer is both. I use emotion and logic to make purchasing decisions. These days logic wins out, but it didn’t used to, I’ll admit. Long ago in my first months/years online, I suffered with an awful disease, the Shiny New Object Syndrome!

No more! 🙂

Really cool article, Joy – and will be sharing on Twitter, already shared on Triberr.

Have a great afternoon.
– Carol

    Joy Healey - September 22, 2014

    Wow Carol,

    Thanks – you really made my day! I wondered if I’d “stretched” it too much by straying into Scottish Referendum land. Pleased you think I pulled it off 🙂

    I’m mostly winning my Shiny Object Battle! Just occasionally I have a lapse, but the logic is really mounting up to tell me “No”!

    Thanks for sharing my article, I appreciate it.

    Great to see you on my blog again, Joy

Emmanuel - September 22, 2014

Hello Madam Joy,

The issue of Scotland going solo made the headlines for quite a long time with various views being aired on various media.
I do think the Scots chose the right path at the end. Choosing to be part of the United Kingdom was indeed a good choice for them.

    Joy Healey - September 24, 2014

    Hi Emmanuel

    I agree that it was the right choice, but I know many don’t. Such is life.

    I hope they get some of their grievances addressed in a timely fashion.


Edward Thorpe - September 29, 2014

Hi Joy,

Nice to have you back!

Here in Florida, USA, we’re so bored that we did discuss the pros & cons of the independence vote.

General consensus was a ‘yes’ passage would hurt the financial markets and sap UK’s klout.

As for buying, all purchasing beyond food, shelter, and clothing, is pretty much emotional driven…

Nice piece, BTW.
Stay casual,
Edward Thorpe

    Joy Healey - September 29, 2014

    Hi Edward,

    Glad the referendum “fame” spread to Florida and that we share the opinion. Although there are some very unhappy Scots!

    I guess the next thing will be a “Europe Referendum”. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    Glad you liked it 🙂 Thanks, Joy

Joan - September 30, 2014

I live in Canada and we went through a similar thing a few years ago with one of the provinces in the MIDDLE of our country wanted to separate. Quebec. Same thing happened. As the voting day grew nearer the passionate cry of “Don’t Separate” grew in intensity. There wasn’t the turnout for voting there was in the Scottish referendum and I don’t remember how close the vote was although I think it was close. The separatists are now starting to make noises about having another go at it and I think the Scots will as well.

    Joy Healey - September 30, 2014

    Hi Joan

    Now you mention it, I vaguely remember the Quebec “thing”. Well, the Scots “said” they wouldn’t – but I’m inclined to agree with you.

    Probably depends on how many of the “promises” are kept. And we all know how good politicians are at keeping promises!!

    Thanks for dropping by. Joy

Sue Worthington - September 30, 2014

Joy I agree you are a great writer and I really enjoyed this one.
I must confess that it surprised me how strongly I felt about wanting to remain a United Kingdom, and am glad at the outcome.

Like Carol I used to suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome but these days I always sleep on it before getting my credit card out.
I must confess to lots of unopened products on my hard drive.


    Joy Healey - September 30, 2014

    Hi Sue

    Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say so. (Gosh – how cool and organized you must be to be blog commenting the day after your very successful launch – congratulations.)

    The Referendum sort of crept up on us, and at first there was nothing to do – then all of a sudden there it was, and finally we could do a few tweets and sign petitions etc. Yes, I felt very strongly about it – once I really thought about it.

    Don’t remind me about unopened products – sigh….. Even still I get the occasional lapse, but nowhere near as bad as I used to be.

    Thanks for dropping by when you must be so busy!


Hollie Hawley - October 1, 2014

Here in the US, we heard a lot about the independence vote. I kept thinking that my great-grandmother, who was an immigrant from Scotland, would have supported independence. But really I think Scotland made the right decision.

    Joy Healey - October 1, 2014

    Hi Hollie

    Interesting…. I hadn’t really thought about people who had left Scotland and what they would make of it.

    Anyway, I agree that in my opinion they were right to stay.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Mike Gardner - October 3, 2014

I was quite engrossed with the referendum, and how the politicians went about delivering their messages, each with their own views, like others I was surprised with the turnout and perhaps we should be looking at it and looking at the lessons we can learn for our parliamentary elections due next year

    Joy Healey - October 3, 2014

    Hi Mike,

    Likewise, although I must confess my interest only really developed towards the end when the UK politicians started getting excited. Until then I felt very dissociated from it. Hope that’s the word I mean LOL.

    Yes, our own UK elections have appalling turnout, which I think is bad. So hopefully lessons will have been learned.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

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