Mike Vickers' Blog

December 1, 2014

Changin’ Scotland

Filed under: Personal, Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 12:31 pm

This is our second attendance – both times in Ullapool – March and now November. What did strike me:

  1. The Referendum is past; the Smith Commission has set out its recommendations. Adam Tomkins, a member of the Smith Committee representing the Conservatives in conversation with Gerry Hassan said that Scotland, assuming the Smith recommendations get into law, will have more powers that any other devolved government in the world. Well looking at today’s Scotsman you wouldn’t think so. Anyway he gave a valiant defence of the Union position to an audience who you might expect was not entirely sympathetic! There was a clear ground swell – It’s not England we object to its Westminster. BTW what will happen to the Scotland 2012 Act due to be implemented next year
  2. Matt Qvortrup, a world expert on referendums, felt that referendums only achieve ‘yes’ when things are going well. Don’t repeat them too often, even the people in Quebec are fed up with them.
  3. Douglas Fraser in conversation with Madeleine Bunting ex of the Guardian and Kathleen Jamie author of a couple of good books of essays in and around Scotland, one Findings. Madeleine – if you think poverty is bad in Scotland then come to London.
  4. David Greig, playwright, Dunsinane, wanted to harness the grassroots political groundswell rather than let it be dissipated. What Scotland now needs a public space to explore views and the way forward –We need to push ourselves harder. The problem dear Brutus!
  5. Gender equality- Jean Freeman – inequality is the men’s problem; they need to sought themselves out
  6. Tom Smith of a wee company Lateral North, thinking way outside the Scottish Box. They have produced a lovely book on the subject. You can find details at http://lateralnorth.com/gallery/publication-an-atlas-of-productivity/
  7. Jim Hunter, professor emeritus at the University of the Highland and Islands and advocate par excellence on them considered that Holyrood needs to recognise that ‘one size does not fit all’; the Highlands and Islands are different from the Central Belt. The financial difficulties of Gigha are no more than we all suffer with paying our mortgages. This book ‘The making of the Crofting Community’ is seminal. Surprisingly he quotes Michael Forsyth as a great friend of the Highlands. Andy Wightman in the chair thanked Jim for his work on Land Reform – there may yet be a bill before the Scottish Parliament
  8. What will happen to Radical Scotland? Common Weal represented by ?, National Collective by Ross Colquhoun, Radical Independence Campaign by Cat Boyd and Women for Independence by Susan Stewart chaired by Kathy Galloway all trying to find a way forward towards a more gender equal, more radical Scotland but trying not to look back.
  9. Where to for Changin’ Scotland, Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart. Jean off to Shetland. General support from the audience for continuing some sort of mix. Changin’ Scotland is a small participatory but relaxed group who welcome being away from the big Fora of the Central Belt. OK we tend to be older but a good smattering of young people at this meeting – may be we are a second chamber. Anyway Jean Urquhart’s son is very keen to pick up the challenge so it could be Ullapool next spring for Risin’ Scotland
  10. And the meeting finished with a rendition by four ladies of The Freedom Come All-Ye in fine tune
  11. Finally a nice touch, the coffee money is for the Linda Norgrove Foundations and if you want to know more go to http://www.lindanorgrovefoundation.org/
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