Report from the Scottish Independence Convention

Elaine C Smith and Gerry Hassan at SIC event

Kevin Williamson, Secretary of the Scottish Independence Convention, reports on a lively meeting held in the Scottish Parliament building last night.

The first post-election meeting of the Scottish Independence Convention was packed out to hear and discuss Gerry Hassan’s ideas on where Scotland is going next.  Over the last few weeks Gerry has managed to articulate within the mainstream media positive challenging ideas related to Scotland and Independence that need to be addressed by the whole country.  Gerry’s enthusiasm was infectious and as always he managed to provoke and stimulate – which is exactly why he was asked to speak.

It was a remarkable event for a number of reasons, not least because, while SNP members were understandably at the forefront,  the SIC brought together a disparate ensemble which included members and activists from at least four Scottish political parties (including a Lib Dem peer, the quiet pro-Independence maverick that is Jamie, Earl of Mar.)

Before the meeting I went up to Luath Books at the top of the Royal Mile to get some copies of ‘Radical Scotland: Arguments for Self-Determination’ – edited by Gerry Hassan and Rosie Ilett– to sell at the event.  The publishers only had three copies left.  I’d also asked for some copies of ‘A Nation Again’ – edited by Paul Henderson Scott and reviewed  here on Bella Caledonia – but the entire print run has sold out.  These are recent titles. It would seem there is a currently a hunger for serious ideas related to where Scotland is going.

It was good to hear from so many old timers of the SNP – some who spoke had 30 and even 50 years SNP party membership under their belts – bring their experience and ideas to the Convention.  You could feel a tangible sense of renewed optimism and purpose in the air. Their thoughts and tactical ideas were especially appreciated.

Another thing worth noting in passing was that senior figures from the Scottish Socialist Party sat among their counterparts from Solidarity and discussed, in positive terms, ways to build support for an Independence referendum, plus their hopes for an Independent Scotland.  It would seem that the renewed sense of purpose around Scottish Independence and the forthcoming referendum has managed to bring two previously warring factions of the Scottish left under the same roof for the first time in years, united in a common cause.  Its early days but these are positive signs and indicative of a bigger process at work.

The only disappointing thing was the absence of the Scottish Greens, but hopefully that was more to do with logistics and timing.  The Convention needs their input  in terms of both vision and practicalities.

Where the Scottish Independence Convention goes from here is still at the suggestion-planning stage.  But it was generally agreed that the ways of operating pre-5th May won’t suffice. The game has changed.  As the SIC’s National Chair, Elaine C Smith, said, “OMG, there’s a Yes vote to be won!”  The Convention intends to turn outwards and play its part.

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  1. naldo says:

    Sounds like a very positive evening. SSP and Solidarity members getting on with each other has got to be a good thing. The most disappointing aspect of the 5th of May was the utter collapse of support for both parties.

    The Scottish Parliament is poorer for its lack of socialist MSP’s. Maybe if differences can be resolved, we’ll hear some left wing voices helping to shape a post-independence Scotland.

    Go on, gadgies, sort yirsels oot and push for the ideas you have in common.

  2. Alex Buchan says:

    Does the S.I.C. have local groups? I recently moved to Aberdeen from living in England and would like to get involved without having to travel down to the central belt.

  3. Scottish republic says:

    I am very disappointed in the Greens.

    Cosying up to the Labourites when the party that wants nukes/nuclear out of Scotland and renewable green energy in Scotland is the SNP.

    Very disappointed. How can they justify their behaviour?

  4. Castle Rock says:

    Hi Kevin

    Good to read of the positive outcomes, whatever our political differences we can all unite to ensure that we get an overwhelming YES vote at the referendum.

    Regards

  5. Robert louis says:

    This is all very positive stuff. The fact that the SIC is playing a non partisan role in bringing the sometimes disparate parties together, under the common banner of achieving a YES vote is good news indeed.

    The fact is, that post independence, there will be a role in politics for ALL view points and all political parties. Those who want Scotland to run its own affairs, need to put aside differences, and work with common cause to achieve the YES vote. Make no mistake, Westminster will throw every dirty trick in the book, before the vote happens, so we really need a united front for independence in Scotland.

    Looking back on the early history of the Labour party, is it not really rather ironic that they are not interested in moving Scotland forward, instead clinging to the rather tatty coat tails of Westmnster rule. The current policies of Labour to oppose Scottish independence effectively excludes them from one of the most exciting periods in Scottish politics. Labour stands on the touch lines, carping. For this reason, I am very glad the socialists (solidarity and SSP) are involved.

  6. john simons says:

    Yet another great article!

    PS Anyone know why Newsnet Scotland is down?

    1. seven says:

      John, I have the same problem with newsnet. I’m glad it’s not my pc.

      1. Castle Rock says:

        Just to let you know that Newsnet is down at the moment because the host server is being relocated, the site should be back up early tomorrow afternoon.

    2. European says:

      Can someone be a bit more specific (and detailed) about the absence of Newsnet Scotland? “Castle Rock”, are you qualified to speak on behalf of Newsnet Scotland or are you making an educated guess?

      There is a risk that this long gap in the site’s appearance may shake readers’ confidence – and lose casual visitors.

      Can we please have information?

      1. European says:

        Are other people getting the message “Connection closed by remote server”?

  7. Odd Job says:

    The SIC is little more than the SNP these days. Shame, since we need a non-party organisation.

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