2007 - 2022

Now What?

Two great gatherings coming up this week about the massive political events we’re going through. If you have other events coming up – let us know and we’ll update this page…


Robin McAlpine: Stop campaigning, start transforming: Organised by Product magazine as part of their ‘summer series of events with some of Scotland’s finest speakers, writers, film makers and artists.’

Common Weal director Robin McAlpine discusses why we need to talk about policies with the potential to transform Scotland in the next 5 years. Come and join in the discussion.

Tuesday 12th May – 7.30-9.00pm at the Voodoo Rooms Edinburgh.

Tickets £5 waged / free unwaged . Go here to book now. 

See also their Begin Again ideas bank here.


Second up, this Wed 13th May What Now For the British Left? organised by Commonweal in collaboration with the Radical Hope series taking place across England, with Neal Lawson (Compass), Isobel Lindsay (Scottish CND), Sarah Collins (Scottish Left Project).

“Post Referendum and a Tory win in the General Election, what now for a British Left? We have seen a new and compelling left narrative led by the Scots and Welsh. Anti-austerity, against Trident and a thirst for an ‘all of first politics’.

Social Democracy has largely failed, but on the fringes of Europe we are seeing new left parties growing in confidence and support. The Scottish awakening has had many supporters and admirers in other parts of the UK. Ideas and organisation are not limited to Scotland, and are needed across these isles more than ever.

What are our shared goals and how should we work together? How can we challenge the growing consensus for Tory politics? What are the next steps for any incarnation of the British left?”

Wednesday 13th May – 7.30-9.00pm at the Methodist Church, Nicolson Square, Edinburgh

Ticket by donation here.

Comments (14)

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  1. leavergirl says:

    Och Robin, don’t talk about “policies”. What an awful word. It belongs on the bureaucratic rubbish heap. There is a reason it’s related to “police.”

    Talk about good questions. For example, how can every Scot have a political/community voice? What new ideas and practices are there that would enable such an unprecedented thing? What can we do to learn to talk to each other about controversial or unsettling subjects peacefully and productively? How can a grassroots consensus be reached that then naturally unfolds into “being different” and “living differently”?

    1. Clootie says:

      🙂 I like the way you made your point

  2. florian albert says:

    ‘social democracy has largely failed’

    Much of what is best in modern Europe is the creation of social democracy. It has huge achievements to its name. France, Germany and Scandinavia have kept most of these intact. Scotland and the UK, sadly, has never had a genuine social democratic tradition.
    Of the new parties on the fringe of Europe, only one has reached power. It has spent its first three months rattling the begging bowl round Europe and beyond; not an encouraging start.
    A couple of years back, Gerry Hassan was writing about the ‘Scottish Spring; now we have the Scottish awakening. The truth is that what happened last Thursday was at least as much about punishing a moribund political establishment as about looking forward to thought through, different policies.

    1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      You’e right. Last thursday was partly about revenge post referendum and partly about an anti-austerity stance. Sadly the latter has failed due to the Labour partys continuation of neo-liberal garbage. Trying to appeal to their core vote turned them off. They were never going to appeal to soft tories. Why vote for tory lite when you can have the real thing?

      What they should have done is replicated the SNP’s stance and appealed to the 38% who didn’t vote etc. As a consequence of their abject failings they’re as good as finished.

      The people of Scotland will have to make a choice in a few years. Independence or continual tory rule. Sadly, the people who are struggling and voted NO are soon going to realise the consequence of their actions.

  3. emilytom67 says:

    You have to start your journey with the first step florian albert we have taken that step,this country abounds with great visionary ideals,the system that has been in place for centuries is totally discredited and it is down to us to implement and carry forth new invigorating changes,changes that will make a difference for once for all of the population.

    1. Darien says:

      ” it is down to us to implement and carry forth new invigorating changes”

      There remains still a Scottish establishment barrier to anything innovative happening – they are predominantly unionist, tory, Anglicised, public schooled, tend towards elite uni’s, and are class determined – and it is this establishment which implements in its own way Holyrood and Westminster policies (and public expenditure) and who collectively represent a major barrier to the kind of change many Scots aspire to. Our people can determine who our policy makers are but we still depend on these mainly ‘anti-Scots nation’ policy implementers who actually run Scotland and who spend Mr. Swinney’s budget each year. Until Scotland’s establishment is properly dealt with any ‘visionary ideals’ will remain just that. Scotland’s public policy implementers have an entrenched ‘cannae dae it’ attitude and are also quite expert at ffekking things up rather badly (a la trams, Holyrood building cost, most infrastructure overspends, Scottish Enterprise, Museums of Scotland, Visit Scotland, Sports Scotland, 19 higher education institutions, civil service, local gov senior officials, NHS management, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

      Scotland’s politics may have been transformed but a unionist meritocracy remains in control.

      1. leavergirl says:

        “Scotland’s politics may have been transformed but a unionist meritocracy remains in control.”

        That’s why the need to work up from the grassroots. Anything good the top-down people accomplish is then icing on the cake.

    2. florian albert says:

      ‘this country abounds with great visionary ideals’

      Sorry. There is little or no sign of worthwhile intellectual activity among those in Scotland to the left of the SNP.
      Robin McAlpine is advertizing a meeting where Isobel Lindsay is speaking. Ms Lindsay was the Mhairi Black of 1968, when she was elected as a councllor in Glasgow.
      At a recent meeting in Edinburgh, where Robin McAlpine spoke, the main guest speaker was Tariq Ali – another of the ’68 vintage.

      This is not evidence of intellectual vigour or renewal.

      1. Andrea says:

        ….and that comment sounds crassly ageist to me. Ever heard of experience? Remember, no matter how frustrating the path to a fairer vigourous self determining society seems to you – anyone over fifty has had that frustration multiplied….and face the reality that despite a lifetime mixed with despair and hope and then despair again …and again – they may never actually live long enough to see the changes they worked hard for

        If you cannae be inclusive in that one little thing ….I doubt you’ll have the stamina to do what it takes…

        1. florian albert says:

          Some people learn from experience, others do not. Tariq Ali’s Trotskyism appealed to few in Scotland in 1968. Nearly, half a century on, it appeals to even fewer. The worrying thing is that the left in Scotland does not accept this and clings to ideas which have no credibility. The frustration you refer to is felt by those of us who see the Scottish left stuck in irrelevance.

  4. emilytom67 says:

    I totally agree darien but you have to begin somewhere we have to weed out this clique of self servers and that won,t be easy at all,with the will of the people we can topple them,bring out the ideas/dreams/innovations put them to the Scottish people,for me that is a huge hurdle as we have a fair amount of folks with their head in the sands,folks that have over centuries accepted the status quo and forgot how to fight/organise themselves,we have to drive our thoughts onwards/upwards no turning back

  5. Lorne McRaild says:

    british left does not exist.

    Wales led absolutely “sweet felicity adams” during the election. It was cringingly embarrassing their clinging onto the Scotttish coat tails and “we want what they have got” mantra.

    We have nothing to learn from Wales other than our greatest nightmare is we end up like them, impotent, no confidence no leadership and no ideas. Too closer an association with PC has potential at least to be a distraction at worst to embolden foes we need not fight and our own support to ask what are we doing.

    We have the confidence to stand alone and should be reaching out to what we wish to become, e.g. Denmark, New Zealand or Ireland, not a defeated powerless principality.

    We must focus on Scotland, no distraction, blind alleys or red herrings, world domination is not our aim.

    Two months ago a left leaning labour Englishman Dave had two articles on here. People told Dave what was going to happen and why it was happening. He did not believe them, citing we should work together.

    Dave and his chums are going backwards, sad point is they did not realise it until Thursday, too late now, the trend is set and tories will be able build on their success and keep labour out for minimum of ten years, more likely fifteen.

    Bonnie Prince Charlie”s folly to Derby should have taught us well, first secure Scotland, second consolidate, then third make friends and alliances.

    Reading history as a child and then an adult, my frustration with Charlie is that he and Scotland could have had all they needed, I do not want similar frustration resulting from the position we find ourselves in currently!

    1. Doghouse Reilly says:

      Wales is a “defeated powerless principality.”

      Dear me, the pub landlord has a Scottish accent.

  6. See also:

    Aberdeen Political Economy Group (APEG), IIPPE Training Workshop and IIPPE Financialisation Working Group

    Invite you to a two day workshop on

    “Neoliberalism and the political economy of money and finance in Scotland and the UK”

    June 25-26th 2015

    Venue: Fraser Noble Building, University of Aberdeen

    The UK economy is likely to be the terrain on which tensions will emerge between an emboldened austerity-driven Conservative government unexpectedly elected with a small but clear overall majority, and a triumphant Scottish National Party committed to oppose public spending cuts.

    The Aberdeen Political Economy Group (APEG) and the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE) are therefore pleased to announce this timely two-day workshop supported by the Radical Independence Campaign in Aberdeen. The workshop aims to address fundamental questions relating to the nature of money and the role of finance in contemporary capitalism and how they impact specifically in relation to Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    It will be of interest to political, trade union and community activists as well as students and members of staff in Scotland’s colleges and universities.

    For further details and the programme, please contact: Keith Paterson at APEG [email protected]
    or tel 07793 655 410.

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