SIC: Build – Policy, Strategy, Movement

This is an invitation to discuss the future of Scotland. A way-marker to a better future that rejects the values of austerity Britain and the pound land economy, rejects the marginalisation of the poor and the stigmatisation of anyone that doesn’t conform to the 1950’s Re-Boot that we’re living in.

This is a very significant conference, the first time the independence movement has properly got back together since September 2014. As as a party-neutral organisation, the SIC plays a pivotal role,  and as host is just what the independence movement needs to come together, to build and to strategise. As the sliding doors of Brexit (hard or soft) close, the need to reassemble and renew the indy movement is more urgent than ever.

This can’t be a re-tread though. As the political landscape has changed radically from 2014, the need to keep what Nicola Sturgeon has called “a fresh eye and an open-mind” is absolutely vital. Taking stock of our own weaknesses and strengthening the case for independence is a crucial part of re-building the case and beginning anew.

There are different views of when a referendum should be held and how to win it. All that will be aired, shared and argued through. The main thing is to be ready and to start planning now, to create a strategy now.

As Commonweal Director Robin McAlpine put it: “It really is important that the independence movement injects some urgency into preparing for another referendum. It would be unforgivable if we drifted into another referendum without being properly prepared and no-one knows how soon another referendum might be. It really is time to get cracking and this conference is a starting point.”

Saturday, January 14, 2017 – Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, 301 Argyle Street Glasgow Book your tickets here.



The event and the convention has cross-party support, including the Scottish Greens. Maggie Chapman, Green Party co-convener stated:

“The events of the past weeks and months have shown that there is a real need for radical change in Scotland. We have shown that it is possible to have a progressive and inclusive campaign for change. Now more than ever we need to work together to build a stronger case for independence. Now more than ever we need to work together to build a stronger movement for independence. And now more than ever we can succeed in reinforcing our inclusive and progressive politics. This event will bring together people from all parties and none to start the work on winning the argument for independence.”

Jonathan Shafi, founder of the Radical Independence Campaign added: “This conference is a vital staging post in the development of the Yes movement and in building towards Scottish independence. By bringing together a broad platform we will press the case for a new campaign which can inspire millions of Scots. As part of that, RIC will put forward a left-wing agenda that will be a direct repudiation of the May government with a vision for a people’s independence.”

Speakers and interactive sessions will explore what the independence movement needs to do now to get strategy, policy and movement-building in place to secure victory in the next referendum.

This will include sessions and talks on the new policy context from Ben Wray (Common Weal); the Objectives of SNP Commission (SNP Growth Commission); ‘Building institutions, building a nation’ with Nicola McEwan (Edinburgh University); ‘Timing, Message, Targets’ with Stewart Kirkpatrick (Yes Scotland and 38 Degrees); an SNP perspective: Tommy Sheppard; a Green perspective: Sarah Beattie Smith; a RIC perspective: Jonathan Shafi; a Women for Independence perspective – and input from the grassroots.

For more details email: [email protected] and follow SIC at: @ScotConvention



Saturday, January 14, 2017 – Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, 301 Argyle Street Glasgow Book your tickets here.

Comments (33)

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  1. Thrawn says:

    Might be a better idea to have a conference that comes up with ideas on how the SNP might actually do better at the things it does control right now…small things like health, education, transport etc where it is has been failing Scots comprehensively for 10 years. Although perhaps the best solution might be to vote for a government that actually wants to govern rather than use it as a platform to pontificate and grievance seek….

    1. Steve Bowers says:


    2. David McCann says:

      Why do you bother?
      Im sure you have better things to do, like draining a few swamps.

    3. AllOfUsFirst says:

      Eh, Scotland just DID vote for a Govt it wants to run Scotland? Did you forget to vote in May 2016?

    4. Graeme Purves says:

      I wonder what sort of government that might be? The last unionist administration we had at Holyrood ran out of ideas and Jack McConnell famously (and ungrammatically) set himself the objective of doing less.

    5. Robert Graham says:

      Good to see you giving your encouragement for a very important next step for all Independence supporters , and to thank them for all the time and real effort all these people do totally unpaid , they deserve your enthusiastic support , well done .

  2. Steve Bowers says:

    Good stuff, one of the first things we’ll need is money and lots of it. Can you set up an Indy Ref 2 fund so we can all start making monthly donations for the future, I can’t afford much cos my wife was paid off in May but if lots of people like me put in a wee bit every month it should help get it going.

    1. Thanks Steve – its being actively discussed

      1. Steve Bowers says:

        Thought it might have been but crack on, things are moving quickly in a hurry up and wait kinda way

        1. AllOfUsFirst says:

          I totally agree with this. We need to be organised in advance so that we can move quickly 😉

  3. Val Waldron says:

    Really looking forward to this. Ticketed and ready

  4. Crubag says:

    It might be useful to have a session on lessons from Brexit (so far) and how best to disentangle national commitments.

    The growth commission is an interesting inclusion as I understand they are covering conventional economic development, aka “neoliberalism”, which struggles with the problems of jobless growth.

  5. Derek says:

    I note that the cross-party mentions don’t include Labour, Liberal or Tory. They’d be useful if they could be enticed to participate. D.

    1. Steve Bowers says:

      Good point Derek, where are Labour for Independence, Lib and Tory for Indy (are there any ?)
      To win this one we’re going to have to take everyone with us, the more the better and it’s a positive start on moving forward as a whole country after we win

      1. Full programme to be announced Steve – will include Labour people – not sure about Liberals or Tories

    2. That was just a small sample of the programme – full programme to be finalised and announced very soon. I believe it does include Labour people too and grassroots of non-aligned and non-party specific people too which is of course vital.

  6. Alf Baird says:

    Talk, talk, talk an mair blether! Why don’t the SNP 56 “roaring lions” just call it a day in Westminster and re-establish the Scottish State. They were given a Scottish landslide in 2015 efter aw. That’s democracy UK style. Scotland does not have to put up with Westminister rule under a single Tory MP, like some hopeless spineless colony. We don’t need to wait for an ‘advisory’ referendum that Westminster and its Supreme Court would probably not recognise anyway. Thair no cawed perfidious fir naething. Scotland’s choice is simple, either Hard-Brexit or Hard-Indy (i.e. with or withoot a Ref2); tak yer pik.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Gaun yersel, Alf!

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Aye, Graeme, 56 oot o 59 MP’s an the Scots still winna tak thair ain kintra bak. (A far smaller Scottish aristo majority created the UK – 106 agin 69 in 1707). Wha’s like us? Dem fyow an their aw independent (i.e. fur thairsel, like oor MP’s). SNP MPs are mair interestit in Arbroath Smokies than independence (thon wis the muckle important question tae the PM the day). Or perhaps I misheard and it was a new Arbroath Declaration!

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          A popular majority fur independence in the referendum on 18th September 2014 micht hae helped, Alf!

    2. MBC says:

      I think something like that has to be an option.

      Each MP was elected by their constituents in 2015 to argue for Scotland, to be Scotland’s voice at Westminster and hold Westminster to account. All that happenned was the Scotland Act 2016. And we’ve seen how paper thin that was as a guarantee after it was trashed by Lord Keen at the Supreme Court. Scotland’s parliament is not permanent and the Sewel Cinvention is merely ‘a self-denying ordinance’.

      So much else has happenned like Brexit of the Better Together broken promises to Scotland.

      I think therefore it is time that the MPs came home (for a bit anyway) and started canvassing their constituents about independence. They needn’t withdraw from Westminster completely but they could be arranging to spend more of their week at home consulting their constituents.

  7. Flora Isles says:

    We are not fit enough to attend but send very good wishes. We must become independent. I want to see an Independent Scotland before I die!

  8. florian albert says:

    R I C held a number of meetings such as this. They were all declared a huge success. When R I C joined with SSP to fight the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, it became clear that their support amongst voters was minimal.
    Is there any reason to believe that the outcome this time will differ ?

    1. This hasn’t got anything to do with RISE.

      SIC have been a cross-party support platform for a very long time with significant SNP input then and now.

      Try and know what you’re talking about before you comment rather than just tip your unreconstructed bile onto the pages.

      1. florian albert says:

        There is criticism here; no bile. Even my criticism is restrained in comparison with what Robin McAlpine wrote this week in Common Space.

        ‘This hasn’t got anything to do with RISE.’ For the Scottish Left, the failure of RISE was the most significant event of 2016. RIC, one of the two parts of RISE, arranged gatherings such as the one in Glasgow in January coming. The problem is that these gatherings failed to translate into wider support for the Scottish Left.

        1. But the aim of this event isn’t to build the Scottish left, and Robin McAlpine is one of the main organisers – apart from that your are absolutely correct (!)

          What is your criticism exactly? That people shouldn’t meet and create strategy? That people shouldn’t plan for the next referendum?

          1. florian albert says:

            As Robin McAlpine has written, the Independence movement went backwards in 2016. This being part of a retreat of the centre left and left, with a few exceptions, across the Western world.

            Instead of a meeting of the converted, going out and listening to people – as John Harris (my hero of 2016) of the Guardian has done – would be a step forward.

            When the people meeting have previously met and failed to create a winning strategy, an alternative might be considered.

          2. Well the people involved also took a movement from 30 – 45% and in the process inspired many many people.

            But the people who did this are also conscious of two things – we failed in our goal so we need to radically re-assess strategy, and that’s what we’re doing. No sure what you’re actually suggesting in place of this effort?

            PS – also a great fan of John Harris writing

  9. Inverschnecky says:

    Slighty O/T – apologies.

    What do you think of the draft bill Mike?

    I noticed:
    2.15 The draft bill proposes changes to the checking of postal votes statements. These require that the personal identifiers on all postal voting statements are checked. While the statutory requirement at the 2014 referendum was that not less than 20% of personal identifiers were to be checked, in line with normal practice at other elections the counting officers checked all personal identifiers. The bill therefore proposes to change the legislation to require 100% checking and bring the legislation into line with previous practice and accepted practice at other elections. (See the modifications to paragraphs 35 to 39 of schedule 2 of the 2013 Act).

    But this doesn’t remove the company IDox, or audit the activities of Peter Lilleys company:

  10. john young says:

    Why left why right/none of them have ever delivered on anything,we do not need narrow self seeking politics/politicians,we are a very small country with a very small population akin to greater Manchester/Birmingham,we have huge resources and then some yet squabble about who is best placed to run the country,bring in the best people in their chosen field and let them get on with it,radically dismantle the civil service for starters and bring in fresh minded innovative thinkers,anyone that could reduce the burden of mortages/rents on people would be a way to a flier,get the costs of transport/energy reduced this would help business/workers,surely there are those with the capability of achieving this or is that just dreaming.

  11. florian albert says:

    The editor of Bella Caledonia

    ‘the people involved also took a movement from 30 – 45%’

    There is a sleight of hand here. The improvement in support for independence over the referendum campaign was hugely impressive.
    Most of the credit must go to the SNP, whose project it was. (No SNP, no referendum.)
    Immediately afterwards, the SNP cut itself off from those groups – mostly on the left – who had helped out during the campaign and advocated a YES coalition.
    The SNP went on to electoral success on an astonishing scale. The rest were cast adrift.
    My belief is that these groups need to look outwards rather than talk to each other.

    1. “Most of the credit must go to the SNP” – evidence please.

      The reality is
      1) even very senior figures within the SNP accept that they are part of a movement and cannot win a Yes vote without being so (see my interviews with Salmond and Robertson), a concept you seem to struggle with and
      2) this event / this organisation includes many people who are part of the SNP (MSPs, MPs, councillors and members) – they also see themselves as part of a movement.

      What do you find so difficult about this?

      Is it that you want complete fealty to a party?
      Is it that you think the presence of these nasty left ideas will ruin independence?
      Is it that you have some other unspoken strategy? (in which case spit it out)

      1. florian albert says:

        The evidence is what happened after the 2014 referendum and what has happened since. The SNP, ruthlessly rejected any idea of a ‘YES coalition’. It went on to destroy SLAB at the 2015 general election on its own. The rest of the ‘coalition’ simply failed to respond. When, 18 months later, RISE contested the Scottish Parliament election, it made no impact.

        I would like to see social democracy prosper in Scotland; an unfashionable view these days. I would like to see those to the left of SNP and SLAB – both, in different ways, attached to the status quo – put forward ideas to deal with Scotland’s chronic problems. Meetings such as the one proposed in January seem to me to be inward looking. Bella Caledonia’s response to my posts suggests an unwillingness to accept where the Scottish left is today; a not very healthy place.
        To take an obvious example; schooling. There are huge problems and putting them right will be a monumental challenge. The mainstream media – for all its faults – has covered this topic. The left has not.

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