The challenge for Yes voters is how to bridge the generation gap
WHEN Macy Gray took the stage, the skies opened. She was dressed in a light brown winter coat and snuggled up to keep the cold night air that had descended over Rouken Glen away. The audience danced in the fields below her as the rain-soaked grass turned to mud.
The surrounding views could have been taken from a picture album from Glastonbury or even Woodstock, of women dancing like dervishes in multi-colored rubber boots and hands stretched out in the air like a pagan ritual. His cover of Radiohead‘s epic underdog anthem Creep was also brilliantly unexpected, with the now infamous words – “I’m special, so special” waking up all night through the sedentary suburban homes of Clarkston.
Macy Gray’s real name is Natalie McIntyre and although she sounds like she is from Carluke, she was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, a steel town specializing in the manufacture of ball bearings.
Macy seemed to be very comfortable in Rain Town. Crazy joy had erupted in the rain as people of all ages swelled the crowd, little boys playing soccer, a little girl on her father’s head, if there was a middle age it was probably around 40 years old and you could have bottled optimism. I wanted the next referendum to take place there and so it was the hopeful, romantic and provocative Scotland that I love.
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One by one, the artists on stage have made the peculiarity. Most admitted it was the first time they had performed live in 18 months and some even admitted in front of the crowd that they thought they might never perform live again. It was a post-Covid celebration, security had checked the results of the lateral flow at the gate but once inside the vast area of ââRouken Glen opened up to a glimpse of freedom.
If I had any regrets for the music, it was for the underground club scene that Macy Gray came from, still grappling with confined spaces, ventilation issues, the challenges of social distancing and the vagaries of the news. vaccine certification policies.
Nothing ages you like pop music. If you were an 18-year-old Scottish teenager when Elvis first aired on radio in 1954, you are now 85. If you bought Please Please Me, the Beatles’ debut number one when it was released in February 1963 at the age of 15, you are now in the mid-1970s.
I’m not off the hook either. If you were a student when Wigan Casino opened in 1974, you are now denying that you are 67, but probably accept that your days of spinning, backdrop and amphetamine stuffing are over.
As much as I like to remember the tricks that youth played on my own generation, I am as mystified by an indisputable fact, as the generation that gave itself the most to life, the so-called baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 post-WWII baby boomers are the least likely to embrace change in Scotland.
Whenever a new Scottish independence poll is released, it’s the rock’n’roll generation that seems to follow suit. How could they grow up to be so relentlessly against Scotland with the most basic level of democracy?
A recent Panelbase poll took an in-depth look at the demographics of age groups and found that among those under 35, a “massive 72%” are inclined towards independence. The signs were more optimistic among Macy Gray fans and the electronic dance music generation as well. Among 35-54 year olds, 59% of voters supported Yes.
As we know the hard way, the situation is reversed in the older age bracket, where only 38% of those over 55 support Scotland in becoming an independent country.
This baby boomer stubbornness was one of the main reasons the last Indy Ref was lost. For the Yes to prevail next time, any future referendum must understand the motivations of those over 50 in a deeper and more nuanced way. The Yes campaign failed to do so last time.
ECONOMIC power and perceptions of security are at the heart of it all. In the early 2000s, many baby boomers were considering retirement. Borrowing has become so cheap that some investors have made some rather risky decisions to get better returns. Financial analysts call this the âyield-seekingâ problem and have won over many people by equating quality of life with ownership and financial gain.
In the UK, the baby boomer home ownership rate was 75%. It was an ideological shift that reinforced conservative values ââacross the UK, including Scotland.
It didn’t stop there either, the growth of second homes has been formidable and often detrimental to the young people of the Highlands and Coast of Scotland trying to climb the housing ladder.
Family values ââhave remained stubbornly consistent throughout the lives of baby boomers, and voting as a family mission was a way of life. I grew up in a family where voting for Labor was as natural as breathing. For many it was an act of faith.
The older generations traded in another extremely difficult currency to change – a questionable sense of wisdom.
The older ones had lived through war, much more through brutal economic change, which in Scotland came with the Conservative-inspired years of deindustrialization.
Throughout their lifetimes, the Scottish culture of addiction spread drip, and many came to believe that slogans such as ‘broad shoulders’ and ‘the Union dividend’ were established facts. Some even seemed to like the idea that Scotland was a hopeless case.
These were the people the mainstream media tended to mirror to sell newspapers, so concerns about Project Fear were easily reflected in their opinions.
But now, the age group that most easily voted No faces a major flaw in their great certainties. They are witnessing the failures of Brexit and must realize that their own children and grandchildren will grow up materially poorer than them.
= Some of you may remember the hopeful final days of the 2014 referendum when it began to emerge that the brutality of older voters could tip the outcome. A final panting campaign strategy has been developed. The idea was for young people to meet their grandparents and ask for their support. The script was hokey, but it contained a powerful emotional truth. “Grandma, you gave me everything and you always wanted me to do well, do one last thing for me Vote for my future.” Vote yes â.
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Inside the emotional wrapper was an extremely important observation. If the elderly are to be brought in, it will not be by harassment or humiliation, it will not be by rallies or rants on social media, it will be by gentle persuasion, often within the trusted security of their own. own family.
Next time, it will be necessary to focus more clearly on increasing pensions and reminding citizens that the broad shoulders of the Union have made it possible to offer the lowest pensions in Europe.
Likewise, the focus on defending the NHS against privatization and selling it to the United States will drive others.
These are questions that resonate emotionally for a generation that views post-war reconstruction as a culmination of national achievement. They don’t want the institutions they grew up with to be eroded by the Conservative Party in England.
Much can be conquered, but it starts now.