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Doorstep search is on for the mystery 'missing million' voters

THE Yes campaign dubs them "the missing million", swathes of the population who contribute to some of the lowest UK electoral turnouts and have fallen off the political radar.

Yes Scotland has been flooding places like north Pollok, a traditional working class neighbourhood in south-west Glasgow. The subtext is clear. This is the constituency of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and Ian Davidson MP, had a turnout of under 40% in 2011 and is ripe for Yes to claim the residents have been abandoned by their political leaders. And the target subjects are clear. It's welfare reform and the NHS, not currency.

Mother and daughter Wilma and Debbie McGuinness want to know about the NHS. At 29, Debbie heads to university next month to study nursing and wants to know will there even be an NHS to employ her. The Barnett Formula, the pair are told, faces being ripped up if it's a No, with a clear knock-on on health spend.

"We've not had anyone else round here at all," says Mrs McGuinness, 51. "Who do you ask? I thought I'd like to vote Yes, but I'd questions to ask."

Will they vote now? And did they believe that stuff about Barnett? "Oh aye, definitely. I asked about the NHS and that man gave the assurances I wanted to hear," she adds.

Anne McGurn has not had any campaigners from either side to her door. The 58-year-old grandmother is asked where she sits on a scale of one to 10 in favour of independence. She's at the upper end, she says.

"A lot of people are complaining round here that no-one's coming round. The poor pensioners are terrified about all the things people are saying. They're using them.

"People are ignoring Pollok. And some of my neighbours are asking if its worth voting at all. But I'll be voting Yes."

Anne McKissack tells the canvassers she's "somewhere in the middle". Her son, a panel beater, has to find work in England. She hates Tories she says when health privatisation comes up but also has misgivings about the NHS in independent Scotland. She hints, to the canvassers she's a No.

On Potterhill Road, William McKissack, a distant relation of Anne, is a full-time carer for his elderly parents and disabled brother. He takes a Yes Scotland poster, voices his disquiet about "that Labour mob", Trident and welfare and promises a full turn-out from his household.

Near neighbour Louise, 49, has not signed up to vote, hadn't intended to but gladly accepts a registration form from canvasser Shona. Her concerns though are not in keeping with the Yes message. "I work in private health care," she says. "If all the resources are being poured into the NHS there's no work for us."

After just over two hours the tally is taken. It's 68 households for yes, 31 No and 34 undecided, over 50 per cent swinging behind Independence. That's what they're saying around a few streets in north Pollok anyhow.

FOR Labour, it's about reconnecting for No. The "Blair Project", Iraq and the Scottish Parliament have seen its clothes stolen by the SNP in recent years. Places like Glasgow's east end, once a core heartland, has returned a Nationalist MP and MSP in recent years.

It routinely also figures among the UK's lowest turn-outs. Shettleston, synonymous with poor health statistics, has also become a byword for voter apathy. In the Calton area, the approach is to target what should be the core vote. No "missing millions" here. It's those the local party knows. No Better Together round these parts either. With eyes also on 2016, its a core Labour message. Aligning with a historic bogeyman now held responsible for welfare cuts would be suicide.

A trio of Labour councillors Frank McAveety, George Redmond and Yvonne Kucuk are joined by party activists for teatime door-knocking and leafleting. Some on the doors are reminded what Labour has done for them, often on a personal level. "That apprenticeship you're boy got sorted with? Going well? Who's to say that will continue?"

Yvonne O'Neill is a definite No. A bank worker, it's about job security. Yes have been round but were unconvincing on currency.

Next door, Vincent Todman doubts he will be swayed from No. "I don't see where the problem is," he says. Taxation is his big Yes fear.

Ben Queenan is another No. But with caveats. "The rest of them are swithering because of that debate. I think more people round here will vote Yes. The younger ones will push it through."

At Karen Hagan's house identity is partially the issue. She works for the Ministry of Defence. The soldiers she works with are all voting No.

"They joined the British Army, not the Scottish Army" she says. Her union have issued job security assurances. Karen isn't so sure. Her son Reece Lynn is voting Yes. Deputy Scottish labour leader Anas Sarwar was at the door recently. "He didn't say much. Just made conversation. Most people round here will be No but the people I go to college with are all Yes."

Currency arguments aren't having much impact on Gavin Hamilton. The 27-year-old, who works in banking, "will get paid anyway and it doesn't matter what the currency is".

"I used to vote Labour but this isn't about the SNP for me," he adds.

Across Abercrombie Street there's been some Yes and No friction. Cars belonging to supporters of either side were damaged earlier in the week in a spat when some SNP activists arrived for canvassing.

On the doorsteps it's more sedate. Jean Lynn knows the councillors at the doors. "Aye, I know them all. They're all OK. I've voted for them plenty of times before. But the Yes people are persuading me more."

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