People Powered Future


This Thursday 28th February, 10-5pm, Lomond Auditorium, SECC, Glasgow. 192 members of the public will come together with 24 trained facilitators around 24 tables for a day of deep thinking about what is important to us for the future of Scotland. The first Call for Thinking Folk gathered in a chef, GP, gardener, student, teacher, postman, welder, social worker, driver, youth worker, full time mum among others. Participant registration is open online until Monday, who will this call for Thinking Folk bring to the table?

So Say Scotland is a politically neutral, broad minded, nonprofit and currently voluntary project imagining Scotland as a hub of Democratic Innovation. We aim to spark a movement inspired by Iceland and aspiring to have 25,000 people experiencing Thinking Together over the next 12 months. After the 28th the facilitation manual for the tool will be available for download under a creative commons license for our website. The small army of So Say Scotland volunteers, including the Thinking Facilitators along with the Making It Happen Folk, is actively seeking opportunities to deliver Thinking Together with other communities of interest and place.

But first let’s focus on this week. We want more young people and folk from rural areas to make up our mini-public. So, if you know someone who fits the bill point them towards the registration page. If you’d like to help us make the assembly the best it can be get in touch at [email protected] While every voice counts, every penny helps. We also need to raise cash to cover some essential costs, donate online

In permaculture design you might call Thinking Together a bit of proper people care. We see this mobilisation of voice in solidarity with the Idle No More indigenous people’s movement or La Via Campesina peasant farmer’s movement illuminating the global dialogue. We are tapping into and feeding a shared field of meaning which values each person for what they bring to the table and recognises that through dialogue the path to the future lies.

Imagine Scotland as a Hub of Democratic Innovation, a Scotland where Everyone has A Say!

Together we make it a reality.

Aim high, travel hopefully, stay present, and reflect honestly.

This Thinking Together citizen’s assembly is a treasure hunt for the future, where the clues are hidden in the wisdom of the crowd. Each individual’s life experience maps the terrain, and the courage to hear each other lights the way forward.

Comments (9)

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  1. Charles Patrick O'Brien says:

    My dream a Scotland independent and socially responsible.

  2. keef22 says:

    This may well be the start of something big. The idea is fabulous and if nothing at all comes from it, at least it will bring a cross section of the Scottish community that wee bit closer together. I like the idea and whish it every success in the future.

  3. If the intention is really to ‘imagine Scotland as a hub of democratic innovation’ maybe they could start by making it more possible for the whole of Scotland to be involved. A 10.00 start in Glasgow means a costly overnight for anyone coming from the Highlands and Islands. Why not Perth?

    1. Charles Patrick O'Brien says:

      Why not Perth concur,but what about a travelling talk show? would the amount of people coming to a talk be enough? but Glasgow has the largest concentration of population,and its also a stronghold of the unionist party.(I now class the three division in Westminster as one party that just uses different titles ergo The Westminster Party)

  4. mrbfaethedee says:

    Looks like a great idea.
    While on the one hand it’s good to see it involving people actually getting together in real life, on the other hand it’s not ver y handy if you’re not near Glasgow.
    But that’s life!
    I hope it grows, develops, and is a able to spread. In the meantime I hope they can adequately mirror the conent and potential for interaction via their website.
    Examining, innovating and reinventing the nature of our democracy is the real post-indy opportunity.

  5. thejourneyman says:

    Same for me this is exactly the kind of movement I want to be involved in because it really does make a constitution of the people seem possible. The event itself isn’t great if your working but I look forward to what comes available on line and possible future events wherever they might be held. Good luck to all those attending!

  6. Jen says:

    Great idea, however why not do some online collaborations, a virtual round table?

  7. Ray Bell says:

    This is a good idea but how do we stop certain parties hijacking it? From my experience cartoon socialists sometimes take the over, and try and tell people what to do. And miss the point entirely.

    This is not a dig at socialism in general, more its British mutations.

  8. OK, some perfectly valid observations and criticisms above.

    1) Why Glasgow and not Perth (or Hawick, Ullapool, Lerwick, Stranraer, etc)?
    Because SCVO donated the use of that SECC hall on that Thursday. We have practically zero budget, we rely on donations ( See the the site for a donate button – hint hint). Absolutely essential that we move this process so its local and convenient, But the first one had to happen SOMEWHERE and SOMETIME. SCVO offered the use of these facilities at that time and we bit their arm off.

    2) Thursday is not suitable for me – See above

    3)Why not online? The SoSayScotland site will be developing online forums (if you want to help – get in touch – Drupal skills and forum moderator experience especially helpful but all welcome). However this is a social collaborative process and NOTHING beats face to face discussion and looking the other person(s) in the eye as their own viewpoint is put forward – online discussions, while useful, just don’t have that. The energy generated in the room as people come together is immense and we wouldn’t and couldn’t trade that for anything else.

    4)How do we stop parties hijacking it? Every participant represents a constituency of exactly one – themselves. In their entirety they represent the Scottish people. So we need some clever statisticians to help us select a truly random representative sample. You don’t just apply to be a member and turn up, you need to be chosen so that we don’t get an unrepresentative sample. Nobody would argue that we got that exactly right on Thursday but an effort was made and there were some very pissed off people who we could not accommodate because their demographic was already well represented. Its good they were pissed off because they wanted to contribute to our democracy and if any of them are reading this, please apply again and I wish you luck in the selection process next time.

    I personally (as the guy who has been the main technical lead so far) see the Citizens Assembly concept as a possible answer to the unicameral criticisms of Holyrood. No Upper House as such but a permanently constituted floating Citizens Assembly travelling round the country debating and ratifying (or not!) the decisions reached in Holyrood. Perhaps even setting out the main points of the legislative programs for each session. We reduce the MSPs to “constitutional technicians” and the real power lies with a constantly changing representative sample of the Scottish public. Folk could be seconded onto the Assembly for periods of a wek or so as a civic duty. Sort of like jury service but you don’t have to mix with lawyers and other criminals.

    The Icelanders got themselves a brand new Constitution out of a process like this – no reason why Scotland cannot do the same.
    In my personal view I see the Citizens Assembly going on to forming a permanent component of our governace.

    Please follow us on FaceBook and on twitter at @sosayscotland and with hashtags #ThinkingTogether and #CitizensAssembly

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