How to inform older voters about independence issues has a number of constraints that are not true of other age groups.
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 constitution 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.
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, while providing them with additional information promoting an Independent Scotland. Similarly, we should encourage inviting speakers from government Department, companies and true impartial orgaisations to present these facts at public meeting inviting 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 accurate resources for these aims in the event of a new Scottish independence referendum.
If you would like to actively help, contact us. It is as simple as that.