Local groups’ conference in Dunblane

I don’t usually publish articles which I’ve written for the National on the blog. However the National’s editor Callum Baird has given me permission to republish the article I wrote for Saturday’s edition of the National because it’s important that this gets to as wide an audience as possible.

The core of independence is independence of thought and action. If we want an independent Scotland in which citizens are empowered, in which ordinary people have voices that are heard, we need to put those principles into action in the campaign which achieves Scottish independence. Independence begins with independence of mind, and any independence movement worth its salt seeks to encourage and facilitate the independence of mind and action of the citizens of the country for which it’s campaigning for self-determination. That means we don’t sit back and wait for permission to campaign for another referendum and for an independent Scotland. We take the initiative into our own hands.

If we sit passively by and wait to be led, then we will find ourselves in a Scotland in which citizens are expected to be passive, in which decisions are made by elites. We would find ourselves in an independent Scotland where the only thing that had changed was the management. This is our movement, our Scotland, so it’s up to all of us to speak up, to be involved, to lead ourselves. You don’t achieve independence by being dependent. You achieve independence by listening to the advice of generations of Scottish mammies and grannies, who have always told us – if ye want something done, ye need tae dae it yersel. Scottish independence is us daein it wursels.

Over the past 18 months I’ve been doing talks to local groups all over this country. Scotland is full of energetic, enthusiastic and talented people who are committed to winning the goal of an independent state in which they, their children, their grandchildren, can live dignified lives. However there’s a perception amongst many local group members that there is a serious lack of direction and coordination on a national level, and that we risk the dissipation of all that energy and enthusiasm. So it’s time for local groups to get together and decide upon a cohesive and co-ordinated approach, an approach that allows us all to feel as though we’re a part of a truly national movement. And moreover a movement which belongs to us, rather than a movement which we’re a subordinate part of. We need tae dae this wursels.

In a couple of weeks the Scottish Independence Convention is due to host a national Build conference in Edinburgh to discuss the future for the independence movement. This is the second such conference, and in my talks to local groups I’ve discovered that there’s a widespread feeling that the great ideas and energies generated in the first Build conference went nowhere. There was a fantastic conference, but then nothing seemed to happen and local group members felt that they were left to their own devices, isolated and without any national direction or coordination. We need to avoid that happening again.

In order to help local groups to build a common identity and strategy and to build on the issues raised during the SIC conference on November 4, I’m inviting two representatives from each local group to a local group conference in Dunblane on Saturday 16 December. I haven’t asked anyone’s permission, but equally this meeting doesn’t intend to tread on any existing group’s toes. I spoke to John McHarg of Yes2, and asked him to email his contacts in order to get the ball rolling with invitations, so your local group may already have received an invite. However if you haven’t there’s still plenty of time for your local group to come along. This conference is open to Yes groups, Commonweal groups, pro-independence party local branches, and to anyone who would like to set up a local independence campaigning group in their own area.

The idea behind this local group conference is to allow local groups to discuss the ideas and strategies raised at the SIC conference in a setting which is more conducive to discussion than the huge and intimidating venue of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. We aim to discuss how we can take our movement forward, how we can achieve a common national identity for local groups, and how we can raise our public profile on a national level. But above all this is about how we can build a national movement that we all feel a part of. We can do this. All we need for self-determination is the determination to do things for ourselves. Let’s put that into action.

This isn’t my conference.  It isn’t John McHarg’s.  It’s yours. This isn’t about egos or personal agendas.  This is about helping local groups to co-ordinate and become more cohesive and to work towards raising the public profile of the grassroots movement. Social media is all very good, but sometimes we need personal contact and face to face meetings in order to be able to take things forward.

The Dunblane conference will hopefully be just the first. We plan to organise at least two others, one in the north of Scotland and one in the south, so that local groups from every part of the country have a chance to have their say and make their input. Details of the Dunblane gathering are as follows –

Dunblane, Dunblane Christian Fellowship hall, Stirling Road, Dunblane, FK15 0BX, Saturday 16 December, from 3pm until 5pm. The venue is directly opposite Dunblane train station and has easy access from the M80/A9.
Tickets, which are free, can be reserved here

If you’d like further information, you can email me at weegingerdug@mail.com which is an address I’ve set up specifically to deal with this event.

I hope to see you there!


The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

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Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

0 thoughts on “Local groups’ conference in Dunblane

  1. Pingback: Local groups’ conference in Dunblane | speymouth

  2. That’s a great idea. It will make the many small indy groups across the country feel more involved and effective.

  3. My 2p’s worth fwiw : Raising the feeling that ‘you’re not alone’ is vital and central to the event, but you all need to go away with more than just a nice warm feel-good glow, since this soon wears off once you’re alone again. You have to at least begin to map out a path from where you are now to where you need to go. It doesn’t have to be too detailed to begin with, but there has to be some clear sense of direction, a list of staging posts, objectives. Actual things that need to be done at each stage, so you leave with at least the outline of an action plan. Unless you come away with some concrete aims, both short and medium term, then the whole jamboree will amount to just yet another talking-shop.

    I’m sure you can do this — Good Luck! 🙂

  4. What a shame! Just booked a ticket as a Dunblane resident and had an email cancelling it to allow more people from elsewhere to go along. 🙁

    Glad it’s filling up but am a wee bit disappointed.

    • Sorry about that. There have been a lot of people from the Dunblane / Stirling area wanting to attend, but that means fewer spaces for people from further away. If there are spaces available nearer the time you’ll be more than welcome.

  5. Can I suggest you open each event to an audience? I’d love to come along to listen to the discussion and debate without necessarily being directly involved. I suspect Suzanne B from Dunblane might also agree. I’m certain we’d come away better informed and more motivated.

  6. Paul … a very necessary initiative, sadly I will be out of the country on the proposed date. However, may I offer this post from here: https://www.facebook.com/thescottishhand/

    “One of the conclusions in The National today – Dr Iain Black “… the currency option cannot be the pound as in the minds of these voters this is controlled by the UK and the Scottish Government can’t deliver it.” That is why, precisely why, this initiative was started. If the Scottish Government can’t deliver it – who can? The answer is every YES Group and every YES supporter. It is YES who can create, adopt and agree to use an independent Scottish currency, not after independence but now.

    The next stage: To every YES Group across Scotland – please expect an invitation to take part in the next stage of this initiative very shortly.”

    I hope the result of that “invitation” will begin to be visible by the time your meeting takes place.

  7. Sounds like a good idea.

    Perhaps the SNP, Business for Scotland, the Greens, Labour for independence and others could have a Yes group delegates conference as well.

  8. What Marcontrix said above is what it should be all about, not just talking about how great indy would/will be and pointlessly complaining about biased media.

    People need to get together and map out a plan of ACTION, while not advertising any important details to the britnats who will surely be there to get the lie of the land and report back to their bosses.

  9. Pingback: My last ever article – Towards Indyref2…

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