With clips from the December 2015 conference in Largs and an interview with Jason Baird, the latest video from the National Yes registry sets out their vision for achieving a working network of grassroots YES groups by 18 September 2016.
We, the undersigned, collectively urge all other likeminded groups and individuals with a belief in the need for a powerful non-party political grass-root voice in the campaigning direction and timing of Scotland’s next strides toward full Independence, to join us in creating this collectively owned, self-organised re-formation and continuation of Yes’s urgent grass-root driven demand for a return to full Scottish Independence.
All Yes Edinburgh West activists are invited to attend a meeting on Monday 13 June 2016 at 7.30pm in the Clermiston Inn. The meeting will cover progress at a local level since our formalising meeting in January 2016 and developments on the national level, particularly with the National Yes Registry. Decisions will be made on what activity and campaigning we should focus on. Our shipment of Wee Black Books will be available.
On Monday 18 January 2016, members of Yes Edinburgh West met at the Clermiston Inn to adopt a formal constitution and elect office bearers in order to be fully prepared for the next stages in the campaign for Scottish independence.
Here are the minutes of the meeting, produced by Bob Glen.
Yes Edinburgh West meeting minutes Clermiston Inn 7pm Mon 18 Jan 2016
Ian Grant opened the meeting, stating our objective of getting organised locally so that we can get off to a flying start in the case of a second Indyref.
There were 20 attendees
Apologies: Anne Fernie, Ann Rayner, Melissa Murray, Sandy Ritchie, Gary Wood, Sheena Robertson, Peter Lynch, Bob Murray
Anne Donohue gave a summary of feedback from Largs National Yes Registry conference on 5 December 2015: the Yes Registry – a local, grass roots level Scottish Independence supporting collective, i-Scot, a high-quality magazine, Independence Live and its events on Facebook, and the 6 questions raised at the conference, after which Ian asked for questions and comments from the floor. The first questions were about the functions of the National body – Bob Glen offered an apology, saying he had dropped this item from the agenda in the interests of time, and offered to provide a summary of this with the minutes. The route to a second Indyref was raised, and the need for another Indyref – there is no policy on this, and the ethos of Yes Registry is to allow members to raise whatever questions they deem important, discuss and pass through views and recommendations nationally.
Everybody introduced themselves – a mixture of SNP, Greens and “no party”
The draft Constitution was discussed, and the following amendments made:
The name will be Yes Edinburgh West
Remove the details of the contents of the Equality Act
Remove geographical limitation on membership
Conduct clause added (guidance provided by Martin Riddell)
A bankers order facility on the Facebook page/ website for donations and a small annual subscription and membership card – decided to defer till AGM
Role of Vice Convener added
Notice of meetings was discussed
Decisions are to be made at meetings by a simple majority, with no quorum specified
In the event of split decisions, the Convener will have the casting vote
Election of Office bearers (till AGM in October 2016)
Convener Ian Grant
Vice Convener Anne Donohue
Secretary Bob Glen
Treasurer Gerry Mulvenna
It was agreed that a bank account be set up for Yes Edinburgh West by the Treasurer
Name for national body: neither Yes Registry nor Yes Forum were favoured – Yes Network seemed most supported, though Yes Scotland, Yes It’s Time, Yes Campaign, Yes Future, Grass-roots Yes, Yes We Can were also proposed.
It was agreed to commit to the Declaration of Support, and contribute £180 to the National body, conditional on a widespread approval of the concept and declaration of support.
It was agreed to hold meetings initially as required, preferably on the 1st Monday of each month
Notify Yes Registry of the meeting’s decisions Bob Glen
Next meeting: after Holyrood election, Mon 6 June 2016, Clermiston Inn, 7.30pm Bob Glen
AGM: Mon 3 October 2016, Clermiston Inn, 7.30pm Bob Glen
A collection was open, and £93.75 was donated – many thanks for your generosity. Added to the £27 from last meeting, and £45 provided by Mary Knox from the funds left over from the Referendum, a few more donations will ensure that we can meet our stipend to the National body.
50 delegates attended (the wild weather stopped a few other groups) representing areas from Orkney to the Borders. Attendees were committed and enthusiastic.
Jason Baird gave an introduction, explaining how he thought the Yes Registry Forum would work – with power at a local, collective grass roots level, responsible for deciding on all issues, from running the organisation to deciding on policy issues. Jason has been full-time visiting Yes groups all over Scotland.
Ken MacDonald then gave an overview of how he set up i-Scot, a high-quality magazine “for those o’ independent mind” in response to media coverage of Scotland. It can be used for fund-raising.
Kevin Gibney then gave an overview of Independence Live and its basic purpose of citizen journalism, again in response to media coverage of Scotland – see their events on Facebook. He also explained the equipment needed to make your own videos – so people don’t have to attend events in person.
We were split into 6 groups, and each group asked to discuss a particular topic, after which a delegate of each group summarised the discussions (and any conclusions and recommendations). The delegates then reported back to their own groups. The idea was to model how the national Forum would work – topics would be raised by local groups (things to do with startup such as Name, Crowdfunding etc – but also to define important policy areas such as the Economy, Land Reform, Taxation, Trident, Energy etc). The following topics were discussed at the first meeting:
Name for national body
It was felt that National Yes Registry was too bureaucratic, and Yes Forum or Yes Scot Forum would be better
a necessary evil for local groups, because of the need for a bank account – but there is no need for all local groups to have the same Constitution.
Which bank should we use?
Who? – activists, new voters, young voters, WFI, RIC, SNP, Greens, Commonweal etc.
Broad estimate of people budget needed – £5,100 i.e. £850/month for 6 months) – if local groups agreed by 28 January 2016, the national body could start from 28 Feb
Estimate for building and running Forum not known (volunteers may be available)
Funding from political parties / branches / companies OK if no strings attached
Individual and local group donations
Funding for local groups
Budget for campaigning – e.g. production of literature or hire of meeting rooms
By fundraising, donations (individual, company, political parties/branches)
Suggested timescale was for launch after the Holyrood election (aiming to be better prepared for a second indyref by 2018?). However, we should start small and grow organically. Also, we may not have the luxury of such a timescale – if the EU referendum is held in July 2016 and Scotland considers that a “material change” has taken place.
On 17 Nov 2015, Jason Baird addressed a meeting of Yes Edinburgh West in the Clermiston Inn, to pitch his concept of a grassroots network of Yes groups, which he has given the working title of the National Yes Registry.
His ideas were accepted very positively and two delegates from our group (Anne Donohoe and Bob Glen) were elected to attend a conference in Largs on Sat 5 December 2015.
In between the pitch and discussion we were entertained by the Indy Choir – you can hear their wonderful harmonies in the following video clips.
On 10 October 2014, in the aftermath of the NO vote in the referendum, we assembled upstairs at the Clermiston Inn to take stock of what we do next. The session was led by a panel comprising Kate Higgins (Yes Edinburgh West / Women for Independence), Ivan McKee (Business for Scotland), Andy Myles (former-LibDem chief-executive) and Derek Durkin (Trade Unionists for Independence), chaired by Ian Grant.