1. Anne Donohoe opened the meeting by welcoming everybody, and introduced our speakers, Jan Goulding from English Scots for Yes, and Selma Rahman from Women for Independence.
2. A Livestream broadcast is available for people who couldn’t make the meeting.
3. There were 23 attendees. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.
4. Jan gave an overview of the thinking behind English Scots for Yes – an organisation for English people living in Scotland, who share our view of a better country – which campaigns for Scottish Independence, believes that it is possible to embrace another country without losing your own identity, and tries to dispel the myth that Indy supporters are anti-English. Originally from Yorkshire (geographically and culturally halfway between London and Edinburgh), Jan both feels the alienation of the rest of England from London, and understands the threat that English people feel because of the lack of a unified national culture. An estimate of 420,000-440,000 of English Scots voters was given – representing a significant chunk of the No vote. She outlined what ESfY have done, and intend to do again – in publicity, street stalls, countering the caustic media, and trying to raise the quality of debate on the issues. Jan took, and addressed, questions during her presentation – about the nature of mass movements, and the primary importance of Independence. Website: http://www.englishscotsforyes.org/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/englishscot4yes Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/englishscotsforyes/
- Selma then gave an overview of Women for Independence, an open and diverse network of women who aim to improve the representation of women in public and political life throughout Scotland, campaigning for Scottish independence, greater democracy, gender equality and social justice. She had 3 main themes:
- Convincing women – by asking questions (what do you want to change?) rather than aggressive, challenging argument and directly asking women to abandon their previous opinions.
- Female participation in politics – starting from “ordinary” politics – health, inoculations, clean water – which she experienced directly in Bangladesh, then in the voluntary sector in the UK. Politics must start by translating people’s needs into policies – making the point that the unionist politicians have lost touch with people, and are left without any real policies to help them.
- The effect of austerity on women
– the 18% gender pay gap, reducing only because men’s wages are falling – 80% of people in the lower paid sector are women – the return to Victorian levels of poverty, even in working households – the inequity of the pension system, penalising women at all stages – in education, because of their low wages, career breaks while having a family, paying the small NI stamp on the assumption that they would be provided for by a man, and the £5bn Treasury saving by raising their retirement age. Selma took questions throughout the presentation, covering, among others, the primary importance of Independence, Basic Income, how to address the lack of women on panels, in the media and politics, the protection afforded to women like Michelle Thomson and Cat Boyd, and the adversarial nature of UK politics . Website: http://www.womenforindependence.org/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/WomenForIndy Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/women4independence/
- Anne finished with some announcements:
Mon 11 Sep (Newliston Inn 7.30pm): Ross Greer on “Education strategy for an independent Scotland” (please note change of date, due to risk of heavy traffic to/from Queensferry Crossing) Mon 2 Oct (Newliston Inn 7.30pm): AGM Mon 6 Nov (Newliston Inn 7.30pm): Michelle Thomson and Roger Mullin on “Brexit: what might it mean for business in Scotland?”
7.1 We have published a number of briefing notes (as online E-Flets, rather than old-fashioned leaflets!), book previews and film previews – all comments welcome! If you want to make comments, set up, lead or join groups on any other subject, please email Bob Glen. 7.2 Gerry Mulvenna has implemented a donation facility on the website. 7.3 Please subscribe to the mailing list on our website, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, look us up on the National Yes Registry, and find a library of useful information on the Yes liaison Forum.