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Yes Clacks Meeting Report – 20-10-14

Susan Fraser and Bryan Quinn prepare for the meeting

Yes Clacks Meeting – 20-10-2014

Next Meeting: 10th of November, 730pm, Claremont Lodge

Archie Drummond opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Following the last meeting, it had been agreed there would be a Steering group who would review and consider all topics/ suggestions etc then present their feedback to the next meeting. The meeting started with a review from the steering group concerning the key topics raised at the last meeting.

STEERING GROUP UPDATE SINCE LAST MEETING OF 25.09.14

The steering group is a pretty informal group of people who meet together with the purpose of keeping things going, and had considered the main points raised in the last meeting.

Hub

There was great enthusiasm for keeping the hub open. This was funded by the SNP. This has been looked at and the costs incurred in doing this are significant. The short-term lease was quite expensive, staffing, overheads etc would add to this. Realism has to come to bear on this, however if enough people still wish to do this it can always be a possibility. One attendee handed the Chair a business card from Ludgate Church in Alloa to use their Church Hall as a Yes Hub. The steering group will look at this in greater detail at their next meeting.

Formally constituting the group: This can often cause problems when members would be affiliated to Political parties and the constitutions may conflict with Party policies. The Chair stated that it’s sometimes better to work without the constraints that rules can sometimes impose but that was his view.

Where does Yes Clacks go from here: This was an impassioned announcement that we lost, but we’re all still here. Despite what some people may wish, we aren’t going anywhere and it isn’t over. So the question raised was how do we as a group productively go forward and keep the independence campaign alive and indeed growing? There were some discussions that we might like to keep this going with street stalls, leaflets and so on. There are specific issues coming up that we can focus on i.e. Fracking, TTIP etc. We could have public meetings on those issues, whether they become independence issues or not.

Meeting almost to start
Archie Drummond starts the meeting
food bank donations
David Lewis and Bryan discuss before the meeting starts
Crowds gather and wait for the start of the meeting

However, the key point is that any of these events are almost certainly are going to need funding to pay for leaflets, hold public meetings and so on. One option for fundraising is to have a social night, perhaps a St Andrews night Ceilidh (see later in this report).

It was pointed out that up to 18th September we all had a clear focus and purpose, i.e. we were aiming for independence. Now we need something firm to focus on, and consequently, the steering group argued that we now need to realign the Yes group to focus on the General Election in May 2015. A strong pro-independence representation next May in Westminster is required, even though we’d rather not be there. The group stated that we have to recognise that right now, this is where the power resides! It was argued that with a good turnout in Scotland we may get enough clout to to set the “agenda” and further the independence movement in what is more likely to be a hung parliament. If we get enough SNP MP’s, Greens, and other pro-independence members there as well there may be sufficient lobby to force the independence campaign further up the agenda. We need to look at targeting Seats to look at getting as many pro-independence Candidates as we can elected. The practical reality is that SNP candidates look most likely to win the elections.

WOMEN FOR INDEPENDENCE

Susan Fraser, a representative from Women for Independence gave a brief report of the recent Women for Independence conference, held in Perth. Over 1000 women attended, with no sense that we’d lost. There were 3 key note speakers: Caroline Leckie, Elaine C Smith who brought the house down, and Jean Freeman. In addition, there was an open mic session where every had the chance to express their (often contrasting) views, which was a powerful safe space for everyone to divulge their views and ideas in a friendly and respectful environment.

In the second half of the conference everyone was issued post-it notes and asked to write down what they thought about particular options for going forward with Women for Independence and for making a contribution to the Smith Commission. The 50/50 campaign for an equal gender balance in Parliament was also discussed, although it was less clear cut whether or not this was an issue the group wanted to take forward. What did come out of the conference was that people addressed the need for training and education. People wanted to be activists and be proactive and to do this they wanted to be better activists.

They wanted to know what to do and how to do it, and wanted training on how better to put this across to others, how to speak, and how to organise themselves. The key message that came out of the meeting was empowerment. If you want to do something don’t wait for permission get out there and do it, make it happen don’t wait on permission. The local groups in response to this are firming up a bit more and even new groups are forming. As a result of this, WFI Clackmanannanshire are having their first proper meeting next Monday 27.10.14 in Claremont Lodge. Anyone interested in being part of that group is welcome.

FLOOR DISCUSSION

After the WFI discussion, there was an open forum for comments.
Press – The was an opinion expressed that we had to appeal to local media to let them know what the Yes movement are now up to. It was felt to be very important that we had to project a positive image and to ensure our movement is not forgotten about. Keep the momentum going and moving forward.

Fractured Groups: One issue raised was the number of groups on social media. It was felt that this causes confusion as who should be liked or supported. It was argued that although there is a deep desire to stay informed about what different groups are doing, this can be tedious and you can end up reading different Facebook pages all day. Some point where all information from all groups is collated as opposed to fragmented would be helpful.

Ceilidh

It was suggested that perhaps the general public is fed up with politics at the moment and that maybe we should have a break from the politics and just concentrate on fundraising and social events for a few weeks, and that a fundraising committee should be set up. It was concluded that the 6th of December would be a good date, provisionally arranged at the Devonvale hall in Tillicoultry and for a band, costing roughly £1,000.00.

General Election

As discussed earlier in the meeting, an opinion was expressed that the focus on the 2015 General Election in Clackmannanshire may be challenging. There were questions concerning the identity of a potential SNP candidate yet. It was felt that it is now important that we get our candidate, get them out there and get them known to the general public, get them in the local paper. If there are events happening then that candidate should be there. Opening charity events, attending social evenings etc. So that when it comes to voting next year (it’s not that long away), then people are better aware of who that candidate is.
Jane (one of the SNP spokespeople) responded to this that it was unlikely to have a candidate in place until January 2015 and not to worry as this is pretty normal given that the focus was on the referendum and all other parties have slowed down political activities due to the Christmas break fast approaching. She briefly explained the selection process and that so far nobody has been nominated but there are a few weeks remaining. The consensus was that longer term, the pro-independence candidate selected to Westminster are more than likely to be SNP, and its important to have the candidate know. For example, the local paper has a Facebook page and webpage and they are more likely to print if a photo accompanies comments.
Training: An additional point raised was that training is required for campaigners. Some members present at the meeting voiced their dismay at being promised campaign training (Ambassador Training), that wasn’t then followed through on. So there was a lack of training, and it was felt that this mistake should not be repeated. For the general election, we must be fully trained, especially on the basic issues.

Name Change

It was suggested that perhaps a Name change from Yes Scotland to perhaps One Scotland or Evolution Scotland or Our Scotland would be appropriate, as the Yes name was the response to a referendum question. Moving forward, we are now an independence movement and it was argued that this needs to be inclusive to no voters. It was agreed that more discussions on this can take place and perhaps a suggestion box be set-up over the next few meetings to see what everyone thinks.

Yes movement

It was passionately argued that we have to keep the momentum of the Yes movement alive in people’s imagination. How we do that and when we do that will be by the general consensus of the group. It was mentioned that we need to normalise the independence idea. More research about other small countries needs to take place so we can better understand an independent Scotland.

Poor kids of Clacks: One prominent contribution was that there was shock and upset in the weeks after the referendum after learning that Clackmannanshire children were amongst the poorest in the country, and that if we want to do charitable events then this is worthy cause. Keith Brown’s blog argues that we did not get the rights and the powers to try and create social justice but we still have the will and that’s what we should be doing what we can to create social within the parameters of what we have got.

It was pointed out that Christmas is coming up and for poor kids we could be trying to get together to get them things for Christmas. A volunteer with experience of working with Women’s aid offered to bring some experience and knowledge with organising this. Suggestions included In the three weeks before Christmas we could obtaining an empty shop, requesting donations in second hand toys, new toys, party clothes etc, and perhaps holding a raffle at the Ceilidh. An additional point concerned the potential for using the Church Hall as the new hub, meaning that his may be used for our toy donations, as a food bank is currently run from there and this could go hand in hand.

Fracking

Fracking is set to be a massive issue around the central belt, and if people weren’t really political before now then this issue coming up will certainly affect them! This affects us all and can convert No voters to Yes, as they realise Westminster has stopped Scottish citizens from having the right to block this happening directly under their own homes. It was announced at this meeting that there is a Fracking event being held in the Thistle in the beginning of November roundabout 7th or 8th, date to be confirmed soon on Yes Clacks page. It was requested at this point that Yes Clacks page be used to promote all events of this nature.

Committees

It was discussed and decided that perhaps we need to have individual committees to address specific needs and requirements of the group. For example, pressure group – to deal with press releases volunteers, and logistics of fundraising events. It was also stated that perhaps for dealing with money we need to have a formally constituted group and formalised procedures to be dealing with finances responsibly and to show accountability. Someone suggested even running it on simpler lines similar to a toddler group or even setting up a Credit Union account and use this.

Smith Commission

Volunteers are offering workshops on how to prepare a submission for the Smith commission. These are due to be submitted by 30th October, and the three main Indy parties SNP/Greens/SSP have all submitted to the Smith Commission. We have to be positive about trying to make this work.

Closing

Finally, the Chair closed the meeting by thanking everyone for attending the meeting and stated the date of the next meeting would be Monday 10th November at 7.30pm.

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Yes Clackmannanshire
Yes Hub
1 Coalgate
Alloa
Clackmannanshire
FK10 1EH
Scotland