Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Mon 4 Dec 2017

1. Anne Donohoe opened the meeting by welcoming everybody, and introduced our speakers, John Bratton and Ross Grahame on the subject of Independence for young and old.

2. A Livestream is available for people who couldn’t make the meeting.

3. Apologies: Selma Rahman, Rene Hamilton

4. There were 19 Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.

5. John Bratton gave an overview of how Pensioners for Independence came into being, a personal view of the highlights of their Edinburgh conference, and his view of the path ahead. He noted Craig Dalzell’s statistics on the demographic timebomb (to which there is no single, easy solution), Maggie Chapman’s ideas on a cooperative approach to care, and George Kerevan’s views on the affordability of pensions (using a full range of VAT, Corporation taxes and a Sovereign Wealth fund) – with the observation that pensions weren’t even mentioned in the Budget leading to the suspicion that they could be targeted for another Treasury raid. He reviewed the status of Brexit (with the prospect of a low wage, low tax UK with hollowed-out public services), the lack of commitment to the triple lock on pensions, and the Rowantree Trust’s assessment that 300,000 over 65’s are about to enter poverty. In that context, our campaigning should highlight the risks of staying in the UK (for all age groups) and the fact that leaving would be exciting. We need to ensure that the Yes movement withstands the centuries-old British technique of “divide-and-rule”. Statistics and evidence are needed on pensions, currency, healthcare etc – but we also need to promote success stories in Scotland. Recognise that there is huge diversity in education, experience, prosperity and gender of pensioners, which colours their political thinking. And remember that Pensioners know and care about the problems of the 16-35 year-olds. We need to teach the kids, who will then teach their parents and grandparents what we want independence for – an end to Trident, fairer social policies, an end to neoliberalism etc.

6. Ross Grahame of Young Scots for Independence then gave his views on how to campaign for independence, combining the energy of young people with guidance from older people. A good example is that the young would be keen to knock on doors, but need advice on what are the best doors to knock. He was politically motivated after talking to a Big Issue seller, who answered a question about what he would like for his kids for Christmas by replying “shoes” – this shouldn’t happen in the 21st century in the 15th richest country in the world. Of course, the young are optimistic and idealistic, but the message needs to be clearer about how independence will change lives. The young are more interested in action than in meetings – we need to stop re-organising and start campaigning – action is the way to attract young people. The 2 major changes since 2014 are Brexit and Corbyn. Brexit is driving young people to Yes, which is the biggest force in politics in a long, long time. Corbyn is not as influential as Londoners think – like Sanders, he is seen as old, prosperous and white.

7. There then ensued a lively question and answer session. How do we attract a younger crowd? Could we offer to help them with issues that concern them (e.g. advice on benefit sanctions)? What transformative policies could we propose (e.g. eradicate homelessness). Why do so many young people have to move out of Scotland to find good jobs? Can young people get involved to drive the Yes social media? How do we persuade pensioners of the case for independence? (the critical thing being pension age rather than amount, as it creeps towards 72 and beyond – the strategy being to minimise pensions payouts). In talking to voters, we need to focus on micro campaigns – what are the issues for you? Can we help address them now? How will independence help address those issues? How do we get the young to vote as reliably as the old?

  1. AOCB: Anne finished with some announcements:

8.1 Gerry asked that we support the Catalan prisoners by sending Christmas cards

8.2 Peter Lynch’s new book is available for sale (£14.99, part of which will go to our Yes funds)

8.3 Future events:

16 Dec (Dunblane) Local group conference to discuss the SIC conference

7 Jan (Banshee Labyrinth) Film night – Atlantic

3 Feb (Waterside social club) YES Edinburgh and Lothians meeting

5 Feb (Newliston Arms) Audrey Birt – how to speak about independence in the future

You’ll find us on Yes Edinburgh West website, Facebook , National Yes Registry and Twitter. Have a look at our Eflets, book previews and film previews. There is also a library of useful information on our SNP branch Forum on Yes liaison.

Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Mon 6 Nov 2017

1. Ian Grant opened the meeting by welcoming everybody, and introduced our speakers, Michelle Thomson and Roger Mullin on the subject of Brexit: what might it mean for business in Scotland?

2. A Livestream is available for people who couldn’t make the meeting.

3. Apologies: Rene Hamilton

4. There were 22 attendees. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.

5. Michelle and Roger jointly presented their views on a lack of analysis into the impact of Brexit on business in Scotland, as a result of which they have joined forces to launch their own consultancy, Momentous Change. They have researched business attitudes and needs across a wide range of businesses, and a report of their findings has just been published. While SMEs are “waiting for an illusive certainty”, the largest businesses are best prepared and the smallest are the least prepared. They noted the lack of UK Government planning on Brexit (certainly nothing comparable to the 700 page “Scotland’s Future”) – when they asked for the 17 UK Government papers published to date on Brexit, they were surprised to find it amounted to an inch high, and was “remarkably superficial”. If you take the single issue of leaving the Customs Union, and businesses having to operate on WTO rules, it is estimated by HMRC that they would need 5,000 extra staff (50 million pieces of EU documentation would spiral to 155 million). Dover currently processes 10,000 lorries a day at an average of 2 per minute – if this were to double, there would be 17 mile tailbacks on the roads. There are 26 separate agencies involved in borders inspections – tax, immigration, health and safety etc. The level of planning to absorb this momentous change in this one area is clearly inadequate for the complexity that businesses will face, and businesses are facing a huge amount of uncertainty, and instability, as a result – what scenario are they supposed to plan for? The most important business asks of the UK Government are to establish transition arrangements specifically geared to assisting businesses, and to make explicit those matters that will be devolved. Their most important asks of the Scottish Government are to make explicit how it would seek to use any new devolved powers (difficult, since no clarity exists on this), and to increase direct engagement with the business community. The report indicates an urgent need for the Scottish Government to actively encourage joint efforts involving Scottish Enterprise, the relevant academic communities and business organisations in scaling up briefings on Brexit for the business community. These efforts should go beyond general briefings and involve practical workshops on surveying staff and skill needs, scenario planning and financial modelling. Based on the responses so far, it is estimated that 10% of businesses are in favour of Brexit, and 90% against.

6. There then ensued a lively question and answer session.

  1. AOCB: Ian finished with some announcements:

7.1 Launch of the NYR Indy App for your Android or iOS phone.

7.2 A report on the SIC Conference (6 of the group attended)

7.3 Anti-nuclear weapons group Ican winning the Nobel Peace Prize

7.4 Peter Lynch’s new book

7.5 And a note of future events:

Mon 4 Dec (Newliston Arms 7.30pm): Stewart McDonald MP on “Defence in an Independent Scotland

25 Nov (Broughton High School) Pensioners for Independence Edinburgh conference

16 Dec (Dunblane) Local group conference to discuss the SIC conference

7 Jan (Banshee Labyrinth) Film night – Atlantic

3 Feb (Waterside social club) YES Edinburgh and Lothians meeting

5 Feb (Newliston Arms) Audrey Birt – how to speak about independence in the future

You’ll find us on Yes Edinburgh West website, Facebook , National Yes Registry and Twitter. Have a look at our Eflets, book previews and film previews. There is also a library of useful information on our SNP branch Forum on Yes liaison

YES Edinburgh West AGM minutes Mon 2 Oct 2017

Yes Edinburgh West AGM minutes

Newliston Arms 7.30pm Mon 2 October 2017

1. Ian Grant opened the meeting by welcoming everybody, and apologised that Joanna Cherry couldn’t be our speaker tonight – she’s in Catalonia observing their fight for Independence.

2.No Livestream is available for people who couldn’t make the meeting.

3. Apologies: Jim Carey, Rene Hamilton, Paul Haldane, Derek Mullins

4. There were 14 attendees. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.

5. Gerry Mulvenna gave the Treasurer’s report. Finances are healthy, with a balance of nearly £700.

6. Bob Glen gave the Secretary’s report: Continue reading “YES Edinburgh West AGM minutes Mon 2 Oct 2017”

Yes Edinburgh West strategy workshop, Newliston Arms, 11 Sept 2017

  1. Given the nature of this event (and the fact that several groups were in action simultaneously), this is more of one person’s view of it rather than a minute.
  2. A Livestream broadcast wasn’t appropriate (or possible).
  3. There were 18 attendees. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.
  4. Peter Curran gave an overview of the history of facilitated workshops, and outlined his experience of using these successfully in business. He then asked for opinions on what we needed to do next as a Yes movement/ a local Yes group, and a short discussion ensued.
  5. Peter then asked whether people thought we needed
    1. Independence
    2. More independence within the UK
    3. Don’t know / prefer not to say

Everybody moved to the A group.

  1. Peter then outlined the possible routes to Independence
    1. By a democratic process within the UK      6 chose this (as per IndyRef1, ratified by UK)
    2. By a democratic process within Scotland   6 chose this (IndyRef2 not ratified by UK, like Catalonia)
    3. By a non-democratic process                     4 chose this (refusing cooperation, civil disobedience, armed struggle, UDI without referendum) – or undecided
  1. Peter then asked what are the difficulties between the Yes movement and Indy-supporting political parties?

Responses included: sharing political power, infighting, lack of structure, the media propaganda de-legitimising the idea of independence, finance (it’s easier for political parties than Yes to raise funds)

  1. Peter then asked who thought
    1. The SNP must get behind the Yes movement        7 chose this
    2. The Yes movement must get behind the SNP        2 chose this
    3. A combination of both                                            8 chose this

This was then discussed in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of both

 – the Yes movement being single focus, and a mass movement

 – the SNP being multi-focus, where members hold shared values and some (but not all) shared views. The key difference being that a party aims to elect representatives to parliament, and possibly to govern.

  1. Finally, Peter asked for comments on what our Yes group’s strategy should be, and a number of options were identified:
    1. Wait for Brexit to become a disaster, and everybody will be driven to Yes
    2. Tackle the media imbalance – using our own social media and supporting indy-positive media
    3. Tread water until IndyRef2 is announced (educating ourselves in the meantime)

The groups discussed what might be done, then shared their results with each other. Some themes which emerged in my group were: learning how to do targeted messaging (a la Brexit and Trump), possibly starting with voter surveys and better understanding our local constituency; registering website names which could pre-empt the No side; thinking of Scotland and acting as a small nation.

10. Ian Grant finished with an overview of an SIC meeting he had attended, and some announcements:

Mon 2 Oct (Newliston Arms 7.30pm): AGM (anybody keen to hold a formal position will be most welcome!)

Mon 6 Nov (Newliston Arms 7.30pm): Michelle Thomson and Roger Mullin on “Brexit: what might it mean for business in Scotland?

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.

Gerry Mulvenna has implemented a donation facility on the website.

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.

Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Newliston Arms 7.30pm Mon 7 Aug 2017

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/

  1. 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/

  1. 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?

  1. AOCB

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.

Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Newliston Inn Mon 24 July 2017

  1. Ian Grant opened the meeting by welcoming everybody, and introduced our speaker, Jason Baird from National Yes Registry.
  2. Apologies to people who couldn’t make the meeting, a Livestream broadcast wasn’t appropriate for this event.
  3. There were 14 attendees. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.
  4. Jason give a demonstration of version 1.1 of the IndyApp (from the Apple Appstore or Google Play if you have an iOS or Android smartphone, or the NYR website https://nationalyesregistry.scot/), together with help videos (which are available within the app – click on the ? symbol – or on the website Demo films). He explained that the design ideas mainly came from running the Largs Yes shop in IndyRef1.

Continue reading “Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Newliston Inn Mon 24 July 2017”