2007 - 2020

National Yes Registry

yes MOUNTAIN copyAs part of our #Indyref2project we’re highlighting the National Yes Registry, see more about it and support them here.

First let me once again thank Bella Caledonia, Independence Live and all those other individuals who have been donating to and spreading the word about the National YES Registry project and its goals. All your help has been wonderful and very much appreciated.

Throughout the last 3 weeks of our launch and fundraiser we have been asked similar questions numerous times and so we thought a compilation of some of those questions and answers might help give people a fuller understanding of our background, strategic goals of the Registry, how we see it developing and our general outlook on the importance of the grass-root YES movement as whole (and not only to the new politics of Scotland).

We are now only five days from our Indiegogo fundraising deadline (11:59pm Saturday the 1st of August) and to date still just over 28% funded. So, we hope this article will help get the word out about the National YES Registry project and our imminent crowd fund deadline. If you like the idea and support the strategic goals of the project, then now really is the time to make that donation, tweet that support, share this article and personally recommend our website nationalyesregistry.scot and our full film to anyone you think might also like to support us.

If the creation of a true, collectively owned grass-roots campaigning network is to be advanced and strengthened from what remains of the local pro-indy/Yes group infrastructure, then it really does need this seed funding. There is no other way. Please help if you can.

Who came up with the idea? Why did they see a need for it and can you say what that need was?

The idea came during my experiences while working with others, full time 7 days a week at the Largs YES Shop in the months running up to the referendum. It was really borne out of the practical frustrations of running short of campaigning gear, mundane things like wrist bands and car stickers etc. even though we were easily raising the funds to buy them. So that’s when the ability to contact all the other YES Shops in a similar boat, in order to club together and place our own orders, just seemed a natural way to solve the issue. Once that idea took hold, it became obvious how useful in all the other campaigning fields a grass-root network across the shops would have been. Sharing practical experiences, encouraging each other, funding larger projects via collaboration among the individual groups, economies of scale when purchasing campaign merchandise and equipment etc. etc.

After the NO vote and the almost immediate disappearance of YES Scotland HQ, it became absolutely apparent to me that without a YES Registry and a forum for the groups to discuss a way forward as a movement, the organisation of the YES Shops and the Yes activist groups all around the country were cut adrift and floundering for direction on where to take all their enthusiasm and upset at the result. That’s when I started to try and piece together contacts for all those shops and groups before they disappeared. With all the upheaval and the Westminster elections looming, that turned out to be a much harder and longer task than first envisaged, working through fb pages in order to try and find if they knew contacts for any remaining YES activist groups still operating in their areas. Eventually we sourced the 65 or so Group contacts that are already in the registry and we do know of others that are waiting to see how the project develops. Since our Launch we have had another 6 groups join, as well as a whole host of individuals keen to find ways that they can practically participate.

Who are the collaborators in the project?

The project has all been done in our spare time, in between the cracks of real life and therefore many people have helped at various different stages in the projects development, be that helping track down contacts for still active local Yes groups, spreading the word, gaining more contacts by holding regional YES meetings through their own groups auspices or by lending their professional skills to advance things. The length of time that this project has, by necessity, taken to get to this point has meant that all those people have come and gone when needed and importantly, participated when they were able to spend the time. The core team at the centre of the launch and crowd funding stage though are myself, Edward M Smith who created and directed the films and Moe Smith who designed the website nationalyesregistry.scot (with special thanks to Marco and Helen from YES Largs).

How do you see the Registry going forward?

If we manage raise the funding (our Indiegogo campaign deadline is 11:59pm August 1st ), then I see the Registry developing into a mutually supportive grass-root campaigning network of autonomous local groups. Our proposals are to build a National YES Registry forum which will be collectively owned by each of the individual group membership. The idea is that we will travel the country to organise ‘face to face’ meetings with the participating groups and gain their direct feedback from our proposals, on how they would like the structures of the Registry to be formed. That way we can form a brief from which to start designing the Registry structures. What we have proposed is just a way of getting the discussion going. It will be the groups that will dictate the direction and final form that the Registry as an organisation takes, with structures tailored to their various campaigning and support network needs.

Your constitution emphasises grass roots, but will there be a ‘leader’ or convener or similar?

The grass-roots are absolutely at the core of this project. With all the caveats that I have already mentioned about control and direction from the groups, the concept of the National YES Registry is that by self-organising in the manner we propose, and thereby successfully completing a process that will in itself require the existing, sometimes geographically disparate grass-root group movement to inevitably lead to the formation (in some form) of its own leadership direction and voice. That leadership and authentic grass-root voice will not come from any single individual or official though, but rather form out of the autonomous group membership discussions, pre-occupations and if necessary group forum votes. Let me emphasise though, the vast majority of the YES Registry activities will be in the realm of the practical: activist best practice, sharing of resources, ideas and campaigning strategies. A place to let individuals bring their campaigning ideas for peer appraisal and if approved, possible seed funding to get the idea up and running quickly, efficiently and very importantly tailored by each Group to their distinct local conditions. That local knowledge and campaigning preoccupation being one of the greatest strengths developed by the grass-root YES movement during Indyref1.

For instance, how soon do you think indyref2 will come along?

I have no idea when Indyref2 will come, but the way Westminster is treating the democratic electoral choice of Scotland while still within the UK, seems only to be bringing that date closer and closer. That’s why it’s urgent that by the time any Indyref2 is called (whenever that may be) we the grass-roots are already organised, campaigning, funding and speaking for ourselves, ready to take our seat alongside all the other leadership voices of any future YES campaign.

The awkward question – shouldn’t yes voters just join the SNP?
Your relationship to political parties seems to be that you are going to operate alongside the normal party system. Is that right?

We are not and will not become a political party, that’s why collective ownership by the groups is so important as it will absolutely keep the focus on each groups grass-root priorities and preoccupations, though seen through the prism of our ‘national’ movement and it’s aims.

The SNP and other pro Indy parties have to, by necessity, work within a very different critical framework (especially when in government). Yes voters have already joined the SNP and the more that join them (and the other pro-indy parties) the better. The point that we are making is that it was through the vibrant, open, sometimes radical thinking and campaigning of the grass-root movement during Indyref1 which politicised those previously non-party political individuals and created the incredible surge in SNP (and others) membership numbers after the NO. All we propose is to carry on doing that important work in our communities, as well as cement a more formal forum from which those activists, that do not want to move into the structures of formal political party membership, can still be heard and have some influence.

How important is Dr Black’s survey?

It’s not our project but we are absolutely delighted to associate ourselves with and to help encourage as many YES activists to participate in it as possible. The phenomenon of peaceful self-organising politicisation that Scotland (amongst others) is currently at the world forefront of, needs to be studied, analysed and learnt from not just in Scotland or rUK, but all around the world where ordinary people are struggling to be heard and influence matters directly material to their own lives.

If you would like to find out more about the National YES Registry please visit nationalyesregistry.scot to view our explanatory films and read more detailed articles on subjects such as ‘The Concept’, ‘A Case Study’, ‘Our Relationship with Political Parties’, ‘Interim Constitution’ and ‘Our Funding Breakdown’.

We have also been interviewed on Independence Live alongside Ivan McKee, and will be open to questions during a similar live-stream broadcast at 7pm on Thursday the 30th, a little closer to our 1st of August crowd funding deadline.

http://livestream.com/IndependenceLive/TalkingHeads2 (National YES Registry discussion from 13:09 onwards)

Thanks for reading and, if you can, please help.

Comments (22)

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  1. Leslie Blair says:

    Excellent idea, the donation link has not been widely circulated or the modest total would already have been reached.I have now donated.

    1. Jason says:

      Many, many thanks Leslie! 🙂 Please spread the link as widely as you can and help us encourage others to have a look, donate if they like the idea and then maybe go on to spread the word themselves. It’s going to be tight, but I think we can still pull it off (and save that punitive 5% indiegogo fee for missing our target deadline !) 🙁

  2. Independence Live says:

    David McGowran from Independence Live will be chatting to Jason Baird from the NationalYesRegistry.scot about what they plan to achieve and more…

    Please join us on Skype (liveindy1) or chat on livestream text with others and send us your questions.

    Talking Heads at 7pm
    https://livestream.com/IndependenceLive/TalkingHeads3

    1. Jason says:

      Hope you will all join us and I will do my best to answer whatever questions on the project that you might have…. live on air! :-/

  3. Hammer says:

    I suppose it’s too late to change the name?
    The idea is solid, but the term “Registry” just sounds a bit sinister, compared to maybe Community or Network. Registries are kept by other people, communities and networks are self-sustaining.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Hammer,
      nothing is too late and nothing can’t be changed. As soon as the membership group collective and forum is in place, it will be the groups themselves that will decide the name and the best way forward for their network. Please consider it as simply a working title that grew out of the very early origins of the concept.
      Our proposals are simply a concrete starting point from which the groups themselves, through our face to face meetings and presentations can develop, adapt or bring their own ideas to the table. Once that process is carried out, up and down the country with every individual group, we can then start designing the structures to accommodate that feedback and as many as possible of the different membership groups’ individual campaigning ideas, needs and wants.

  4. jock mcdonnell says:

    A good & worthwhile cause.
    I’d like to see a Yes narrative continuing & developing on all the headline issues, we need to get no voters re-evaluating now, rather than hope to convince them during a full campaign.
    Fear & ignorance were & remain our greatest foes.

    1. Jason says:

      Cheers Jock!

  5. Amby Loughlin says:

    I don’t have money, but am a skillful singer songwriter, I don’t charge for any freedom group, am available to help raise funds this way only. Its the best I can do as I have serious health issues, hope I can help cheers, Amby.

  6. Amby Loughlin says:

    Also I played the independence gig last year in Gourock along with the Skarsoles, Loki and other quality musicians, writing new songs for freedom.

    1. Jason says:

      Cheers Amby. Hopefully the Registry structures will be there for all manner of social campaigning activities.
      jason

  7. Kathleen says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see the point of this at all. Groups already have networks and connections, and the idea that it will take someone 4 months working full-time to do . . . what exactly? How would, for example, a local Women for Indy group, benefit in any way from being “cemented” into a more “formal forum”? It just seems like it would be another meeting, more work, and wouldn’t add anything to the work they were doing. If someone wants to create a full register, surely they could do that voluntarily in a few days? Why would it cost £9,000?

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Kathleen, have a read of our website nationalyesregistry.scot and maybe watch our full film https://youtu.be/w8oYERnk-Vg The breakdown of costs can also be found in the website too, or even on our indiegogo page linked in the article. It’s all there.

      regards,
      Jason

      1. Kathleen says:

        Hi Jason, i already have and i still don’t see the point.

        I’m particularly unsupportive of your draft constitution in which you give your organisation the authority to tell groups when and how often to hold their meetings.

        1. I really didn’t read it like this at all Kathleen. I saw it more as a support to the network. I wonder why there’s such distrust here?

        2. Jason says:

          Kathleen,
          we have been at pains to state that our proposals are just that… proposals. They are simply there to create a base from which discussions and other ideas and proposals can form from. We are not awash with grass-root organisational proposals. We are seeing the grass-root group structure dissipate however. This project is an attempt to address that fact and hopefully reverse it.

          The interim constitution proposals are proposals only. We have raised the funds to organise face to face meetings with the groups in order to have these very discussions. This has to be step by step or nothing can happen. The step we have just taken is fundraising, not building the structures or organisation.

          In order to fund-raise however, you must somehow show people the direction the project can travel and make clear that it is only one of many. That is what we have done and by doing so, gained the necessary funds to embark on the next step. You are pre judging the results of that next step. We do not know the results of the face to face group meetings and their feedback, or how that feedback or those group proposals will inform the way that the project develops during that next step. It will happen during the process. There is no other way.

          Jason

  8. Gordon says:

    I’m not entirely certain if the funding sought was realised for this, but — and please don’t accuse me of being some sort of troll — I have quite serious doubts about the desirability of organising the grass roots along the lines suggested.

    No matter how you cut this, it is an attempt to collectively manage the grass roots and frankly I don’t think the sort of management hinted at would be useful or beneficial.

    I have experience in working with grass roots groups. They don’t need help. They produce their own merchandise. A good example is Hope Over Fear who have just recently released a CD.

    If this registry structure emerges, it will kill of the enthusiasm of local and grass roots activists who currently enjoy being masters of their own destiny.

    Let the shared ideas and goals of the grass roots unite them. People don’t need to be managed; they can manage themselves.

    If this registry structure goes ahead, it will result in the whole campaign being subverted by yet another team of well-meaning middle class managers who are scared to say and do anything that upsets the powers that be. The model has been tried and tested a thousand times and it has failed a thousand times.

    As it stands, the grass roots can say and do what they want. They have freedom. A lot more good will come of that then bad and it is electrifying and engaging. They don’t need to worry about upsetting people in power and any formal organisation you create most definitely will.

    I urge you all to have more faith in the people and let a million flowers bloom. Cultivate this and you will kill it.

    And if IndyRef 2 goes ahead, you can bet the SNP will be there to throw something together that helps with any need for collective control just as they were there with the Yes Campaign.

    1. I didn’t understand the project like this at all Gordon – or we wouldn’t have agreed to promote it. There seems to be a level of paranoia about ‘capture’ of the movement that’s going on.

    2. Jason says:

      Hi Gordon,
      please have a look at my answer to Kathleen as I think it addresses some of the points you raise. I think that you are unfairly viewing and portraying ANY leadership or organisational structure as top down and controlling. This is a common line of argument and is unfortunately a godsend to those forces and systems that actually are top down leadership structures and models. These have vested interests in keeping that ‘top down’ model being seen as the only ‘reasonable’ and effective route to leadership. That entails stopping the formation of working, effective alternatives. and that is exactly what we are trying to instigate.

      The grass-root organisations that you quote are organised and led effectively by their own guiding authority. The issue is where that authority comes from and who controls it. Try having another look at our proposals again in those terms please.

      Finally, you say ‘And if IndyRef 2 goes ahead, you can bet the SNP will be there to throw something together that helps with any need for collective control just as they were there with the Yes Campaign.’

      What we, the grass-roots, ended up with via this route last time was ironically the very thing that you are accusing our project of being (even though we have not had our first group meeting yet, never mind built a structure)!

      That is, an appointed organisation filled with the well meaning (and well paid) ‘great and the good’ which had precious little to do with the actual grass-root campaign as it unfolded on the ground. It caused bottlenecks in campaigning equipment, failed to voice any of the more radical concepts of a future Indy Scotland that were common currency in the grass-roots and in short, were not a fair media representation of what the grassroot campaign was doing or fighting for (but were the Yes campaigns only real MSM voice). They did not even defend us against, or even acknowledge the existence of, our state broadcasters outrageous bias! They instead actually denied it existed!

      I do not want to get into a blame game here because all this is in hindsight and everyone, and I mean everyone, was learning the hard way. But… these lessons must be learned or we will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes come idyref2. Indyref1 was lost!

      We are just trying to kick start that kind of important analysis from the grass-roots groups. What they come up with in response will be up to them and I think it’s far too early to second guess or condemn.

      Jason

  9. Independence Live says:

    I like the potential of this. You are creating a framework for independent Yes grass root groups to communicate with each other and share their ideas. In addition it could also allow for a centralised point for the Yes groups to communicate with the general public and vice versa via a website, Twitter & Facebook – all run by grass root supporters from the various groups – much like Indy Live.

    In practical terms for Indy Live, our reach is small but with something like above it would allow Indy Live to communicate at one point so as we could disseminate a message for example that we want to show groups how to livestream for their local events. Other organisations could also tap into this something that was lacking during Indy Ref. It would always be up to the local Yes groups to do what they want so I don’t see it holding back or putting any group in a straight jacket. Join or don’t, use it or don’t.

    Anyway, it’s going to be interesting to see how this develops and we will have another chat with Jason soon so you can put your questions directly or even join the Skype livestream chat with us.

    1. Jason says:

      Absolutely Independence Live, and thanks for the insight into how it could be used by yourselves. The idea is that it’s each organisation and group with their own specialist interest and knowledge that will work out how to best use or take advantage of the registry system and forum to advance their particular campaigning angle or drive for an Independent Scotland.

      That’s not something that could ever be achieved from the center and hopefully will be the source of the variety and range of campaigning ideas and projects that was the hallmark of the grass-roots during indyref1.

      Look forward to being on your show again to give everyone an up date on how things are proceeding and try and answer any questions that folk might have. Your support during the crowd fund was incredible, so many thanks for that. Many thanks again to you too Bella! 🙂

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