Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes, Shandon Snooker, 2 April 2018
1. The format of the meeting was a structured workshop led by Peter Curran, to discuss the issues raised by last Friday’s “Hands off our Parliament” rally.
2. Apologies: Ian Grant, Paul Haldane
3. There were 12 attendees, with no Livestream as it is impossible to cover separate workshop groups. Email addresses given will be added to the mailing list unless anyone objects.
4. Peter set the scene for the discussion by covering the UK Withdrawal Bill, the Scottish Continuity Bill, the Sewell Convention in the Scotland Act (which was supposed to protect the Scottish Parliament from interference from Westminster in devolved areas, but which has been proven to be an empty promise). As a result of Brexit, there are 24 powers which are not reserved to Westminster, but which it wants to deal with at UK level. It has now accepted that there is a “presumption” that these powers will be devolved.
5. The question was posed: “do you support devolution as a path to independence, are you happy with devolution as is, or are you undecided”? All joined the first group (split into 3 groups), one opted for the third. The groups were asked to discuss if they understood Withdrawal, Continuity and Sewell.
6. The next question tackled was “what could go wrong”? The groups were moved around for this discussion. Clearly, looking at the 24 powers, there are things such as fishing and food protection that Westminster could formulate a UK position on that would be damaging to Scotland (for example, they could concede fishing rights in order to obtain a better deal for the City of London, or they could cause substantial damage to Scotland the Brand). Alternatively, the Scottish government could accept an offer of a partial return of powers – this was met with vehement opposition, as it was felt that this is an issue which goes to the root of the question of Scottish sovereignty – are we always to submit to Westminster preferences? Thirdly, the UK could decide to reverse direct and cancel Brexit.
7. The last question was “should we do a range of things to protect the Scottish Parliament”? Again, with different group members. The following action points arose:
- A letter-writing campaign (to local/national newspapers)
- Isolate HooP as an issue from Independence, Brexit and any other factors
- Apply pressure on politicians by email
- Support HooP petitions and demonstrations
- Set up a Communications Group (and try to enlist the support of respected journalists)
- Have more doorstep, social and workplace conversations
- Street stalls – but indirectly, such as for Scotland the Brand, with openings for HooP discussion
- Social media – continue with efforts to provide information, but try to get out of the Yes bubble. Use the NYR IndyApp as much as possible (launch is soon).
- Support efforts to re-establish awareness of Scottish Sovereignty – a new Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Covenant
- Use drama, art and music to reach out to people.
8.1 Ann Rayner has attended 2 “Scotland the Brand” market events, and could use some more volunteers
8.2 We are planning a voter survey and a leaflet drop in local areas in April
8.3 Contributions were requested to cover the venue hire of £30.
8.4 It was agreed that we should continue with this venue for at least 2 more months
8.5 Check if the Clermiston Inn is still unavailable on Monday nights (BG)
8.5 Next meeting will be 7th May (another Bank holiday). This will be a workshop on Media.
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 Independence and Yes liaison.