The article was published in the National on 28 May. We were asked to contribute to the series which they are running just now highlighting the groups who have received grants from the Scottish Independence Foundation.
Here’s the text of the article which was written by Alan Logue co-Convenor of our National Group.
Our age group had the highest proportion of those who rejected constitutional change in 2014. We reformed Pensioners for Independence in early 2017 because we considered that a group run by pensioners was better placed to put our message across, raise the issues that most concern us – especially those that failed to convince us to vote Yes in 2014 – and convince our peers of the benefits of constitutional change.
Edinburgh was the first group to be convened and after some months Greater Glasgow followed and some activities started in Aberdeen and Perth. Street stalls were run, speakers were arranged and local meetings held.
We were keen to spread out to other areas, so very soon a National Committee was created to focus on moving the organisation forward. Each local group sends representatives to this national coordinating group. Our website is set up so each group has their own page for their local news. We also set up central purchasing for materials that everyone can use. In March 2018 we had our first Inaugural General Meeting as a constituted national organisation
Our next step was to help build, coordinate and support more local groups. In early 2019 we approached the Scottish Independence Foundation and applied for funding detailing what we required and what we believed we could achieve with their support. The application was successful!. Thank you, SIF!
By this time we had a sizeable number on our website mailing list. Using that data to encourage clusters to start local groups, we liaised with those interested and organised local meetings to explain our objectives and what we could offer in the form of resources and initial funding to establish a group. As a result groups have formed in Ayr, Selkirk, Perth and Fife, Stirling and Clackmannanshire has held a first meeting to gauge interest and there is a very active group in Dumfries & Galloway which runs separate from our network.
We have also set up our own leaflet creation team for information on topics more closely related to our peer group, these are all on our website in pdf format for downloading, and encouragingly, our leaflets are now being requested by other Yes groups through our bulk purchasing arrangement.
As well as raising our profile in all the usual ways – stalls at rallies, street stalls, meetings, leafleting, attending and contributing to conferences and seminars- we have also set up an entertainment group,The Warblers, who take their concerts into sheltered housing, lunch clubs and local community centres. Two of our members in Glasgow were invited as guests on IndyLive Radio and were so good they are now co-presenters on the IndyLive Radio Team. And to further our influence, and as a constituted organisation, we have a representative on the Scottish Independence Convention. All this activity means we are increasingly well-placed to communicate our vision for an independent Scotland to those pensioners not yet convinced.
Our next step is to get involved with groups of the younger generation to exchange information that would be useful to both age groups in convincing each other of the positive benefits of constitutional change. Independence will be our generation’s present to their generation’s future.
At the moment, of course, active campaigning is being severely restricted. Video conferencing is now the method for meetings and discussions. As the current situation progresses we will have to rethink our campaigning methods. We will be more reliant on one to one conversations or in small gatherings as larger groups will likely be shunned.
But using our extensive mailing list, we have recently completed an exercise in sending leaflets out to those willing to distribute them in their own community. We need to build on this and encourage others to be more active in spreading the word. Using advertising / posters aimed at our peer group in the areas that would be most frequented might be another way to get our message across. As with other Yes groups, how we go about campaigning will be down to local conditions after the lockdown eases.
As our age cohort contains the highest proportion of those vulnerable to Covid19, we may be the last to emerge from this lockdown, and probably our anxiety about Covid19 will linger until there is a vaccine. Our Warbler’s visits to care homes etc. will very likely be restricted, our age group being the least users of social media, we have our work cut out – ideas on a postcard please.
Alan Logue, Co-convener National Pensioners for Independence
If you are interested in helping us, contact :-
- Twitter: @Pensioners4Indy
- Facebook: Pensioners for Independence National Hub
- or write to the National and they will pass your message on
And once again, thank you, Scottish Independence Foundation for all the help you are giving to the independence campaign.