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Reaching out to older Voters

Engaging to inform older voters has a number of constraints that are not true of other age groups.

But when the UK Governmnet is now taking Pensioners in their sights, to releive them of the burdensome levels of savings and wealth they built up over a lifetime, engagimng pensioners is getting easier. Traditionally all voters have been informed by the range of daily and weekly newspapers, and the broadcasters. But with these conduits to the public often being governed by editorial and often political imperatives, the range, scope and even accuracy of the information is today, in these outlets, is being regularly brought into question.

It is well accepted, from whatever side of the argument you fall, that it is a bad situation for democracy that Scottish print media has 95%-97% of published content owned by individuals or organisations that are hostile to any change in the governance of the UK. With this must come an acceptance, that having no requirement for partiality, their coverage will be consistently biased in reflecting promotion of the status quo, and therefore will project Scottish Independence, along with other non-establishment views, and those who advocate them, in a negatives light.

Modern technology and alternate media sources have for the most part changed news access for age groups below 55-60 years old. If not accessing alternate sources themselves, these younger voters will likely mix regularly with those who do. Voters over 55-65, many who have never accessed news through modern media, tend to be insulated in their own age group, from any news or views not presented in the traditional media.

Like all voters, older voter's main concerns will be generally characterised by issues and services with which they themselves mostly interact or depend. These tend to be NHS Scotland, Pensions, friends and family, as well as basic everyday essentials such as heating and other living costs.

It is disappointing that during the last independence referendum there was a targeted fear campaign against the elderly and most vulnerable. A conscious aim to scare the elderly, with veiled threats of no currency or pensions, no food, no health services and family members elsewhere in the UK becoming 'Foreigners' if Scotland became independent. This was an abhorrent strain of the BetterTogether, ProjectFear strategy, backed up to the hilt by the media in Scotland.

This fear still exists, and if they are ever to evaluate Scottish independence objectively, having actual factual information is crucial.

The media have the ability to shade their views. However, government department and companies are obliged, and can be scrutinised, in providing factual, consistent and accurate information to those who request it.

Promoting a misrepresentative view in a report, or media release, is different to blatantly misleading to lying directly to a named individual as regard their individual circumstances.

This should be the aim of any information campaign targeting older Voters, to encourage them to seek direct written answers from government departments, pension providers and other organisation at a personal level. Similarly, we should encourage inviting speakers from government Department and companies to present these facts at public meeting targeting the elderly. Although there may be reticence on this. A DWP official explaining pension entitlement to a meeting, is no more controversial than a policemen explaining the law regard riding a bicycle, or parking near a school, to the public and council members at a local Community Council meeting. So these invitations should be sent out.

Our organisation will simply seek to promote and provide resources for these aims in the event of a new Scottish independence referendum.

You can at any time email direct to the Pensioners for Independence Forum at Forum

While we wait for the Scottish Council elections to be run on May 4TH. we are mainly still in the planning stages. Building up members, a national organisation structure and campaign materials, and being involved with the likely main Campaign group Scottish Independence Convention.

However there are a number of tasks all of us can do at this stage, before we start easing towards full campaign mode starting in Late May.

  1. The first is you are welcome to contribution campaign ideas directly to us, we want to hear. If you can help locally to deliver the strategies that come from this, all the better.
  2. You can use involvement of your own choice of party during the May elections in voicing your support for independence anytime the proposal is challenged. The SNP and Greens party policy is to support Independence. Despite their official policy, Labour, Conservatives and Libdems in Scotland already have internal groups supporting Independence. We can put you in contact with any of these if you wish.
  3. Other actions are writing letters to your local newspapers in support. Firstly on the right to have a referendum, and that the timing and conduct will be wholly decided in Scotland. Then follow that regularly with letters of general support for Scottish independence citing our better NHS, and other public services. We are in the process of forming a co-ordinated Letter writing group if you are interested.
  4. You can talk to your friends in groups or the Clubs and societies you take part in. If possible influence these groups, possibly by taking up places on the committees, then suggesting inviting balanced numbers of speaker along to talk to your clubs or society about independence as the vote approaches.
  5. Encourage your children or grandchildren (75% 16-23 year old are voting YES) to talk to their friends who should in turn talk to their grandparents, asking them not to stand in the way of our youth by voting against independence.
  6. Later in the campaign we will need individuals to host local street stalls (Just a small table and some leaflets), or host morning drop-in events. Having these basic materials ready will be an advantage, as also thinking about suitable small venues. We here are currently designing and purchasing leaflets and other materials which we will make available, I hope at little or no cost, dependent on donations. We hope to buy lightweight pop-up campaign kiosks to aid leaflet distribution outside venues and shopping areas where older voters frequent.
  7. You can donate to our site www.PFI.scot using the PayPal button (Ordinary credit/debit cards accepted).

So there are plenty of things to do now that do not involve standing in the rain or knocking doors immediately. Your support and help in this would be appreciated.

We were not given this chance to vote, decades of hard work have earned this right. Individuals did that, and that needs to continue if we are to succeed.

If you would like to actively help, contact us. It is as simple as that.