Since I published my article about why I will be voting no in the Scottish independence referendum, one of the most interesting points of discussion has been on the yes campaign’s ability to sell a hopeful future.
That is the success of the yes campaign, but it is also its luxury.
As I outlined in my previous article, we all hope for a better future. When it comes to selling that hopeful future, the yes campaign is at an advantage because it represents a change to the status quo.
But it is a dog whistle. People can hear what they want to hear.
Yes campaigners go to people, ask them what their concerns are, then say, “see, independence could solve that”. It gives the perception of solving the problem without actually addressing the core concern.
Everyone forms their own picture in their minds about what an independent Scotland would be like. The trouble comes if it happens and people begin to realise they all had different visions to each other.
Hopeful messages are often tempting to voters. But normally it doesn’t take long for the hope to turn sour. History teaches us to beware.
To take just one example close to home, think of Tony Blair. He sold us a new Britain. It didn’t take long to realise his plan wasn’t so great after all.
It was pretty lucky we could kick him out after a few years.
We would have no such ability to change our minds about independence.