Want to Take Part in BBC’s Scottish Debate Night?

Debate Night is BBC’s new Scottish version of Question Time and so far it’s proving to be more nuanced, more balanced, with more listening and less interrupting. An example of how even BBC might do things differently in an independent Scotland? Fancy taking part? Got opinions to share? Here’s how…

Join the Debate Night Audience

It does seem ridiculous that BBC hasn’t given them a budget to record the programme in far flung Scottish places, like Fife or Dumfries for instance 😂 🤣. And don’t they want to hear from Scots in Orkney, Shetland, Hebrides?

Nevertheless, here’s what a recent participant says about their experience. They obviously enjoyed themselves. (Thanks to Yes Marchmont and Morningside for all this info)

BBC   Scotland  Debate Night 

  • Due to the fact that they don’t have a budget to travel around Scotland, the new BBC Debate Night is struggling for audience members particularly females  (and probably viewers) but this  is a great way to get some experience of such programmes prior to any  independence  referendum debates.
  • You are asked your voting record at Scottish Parliament Election, General Election, IndyRef1 and BrexitRef. You are asked if you are a member of a political party, if you are an activist, do you hold any paid or unpaid positions in the party structure. I said I delivered leaflets and was a member. They were happy with that. You can select which week you are interested in. I had a choice of 2 weeks, I chose 6thMarch. 
  • Notification of Acceptance You will receive a phone call in the week prior to the show to tell you, you will be in the audience. I received my call on the Monday evening before the show. They then confirm with you that you are not a paid member of the party and your involvement is only delivering leaflets. 
  • Photo ID  required on the day of the show I was shocked to receive an email telling me I require Photo ID to appear in the show. I offered them my work pass ID, they refused, so I had to drive home at lunch time to get my passport and driving licence, just in case they refused one of these forms of ID.. The email also said no logo or emblems on your clothing.
  • Your Questions Questions are 20 words max. You are invited to send two by email. On the night you are again invited to supply additional topical questions. I phoned the BBC on the day to find out the list of panellists on number 03700 100222. Chose selection 2 then 2 again to speak to an operative. The non-politicians on the show are there for a reason and there will be a question on a topic of interest to them. This week it was Brexit and charities. 
  • The Night You are asked to be at the show venue by 6pm and you will not leave before 9pm. If required use the Postcode of EH14 1DI  After registering by showing your photo ID, there is a security search using a hand-held device. Similar to an airport. You then enter a seated room with tea and coffee available and toilets are nearby. This time can be used to write topical questions on the cards provided. The audience is then invited into the auditorium. To test the camera angles and sound a series of test are performed. Audience members are asked if they are opinionated and 5 are selected to come and sit on the chairs of the panellists and have microphones attached and a pretend question is asked, each “panellist” and the audience are asked to have a discussion.
  • The audience members who were lucky enough to be selected to ask questions are then identified and positioned in distributed places in the audience. The true panellists then arrive and the show begins with the first question. I put up my hand up early in the first question and was selected to make a comment. I tried to keep my hand up throughout the show but the arm does get sore.
  • You should have a comment handy for each question. Bring a pen and paper into the show and write down points that come to mind as the questions unfold. Do not be afraid to vocalise to show agreement or disagreement with any points made. Liz Smith Tory MSP said we voted for Brexit and more than half the audience shouted her down by saying “no we didn’t”. This came across well on TV.
  • Stephen Jardine the host is great.

WordClouds for Independence

Last month the Glasgow P4Indy had a visit from Bill Mills talking to us about Reframing. This month we wanted to explore his ideas from different angles so we created a workshop format looking at the values we associate with an independent Scotland. We did two workshops – one about values we as Yes voters associate with independence; and another about values which led No voters to reject independence.

Of course we’re Yes voters so we might not be correct in the values we think influenced No voters! But we’ve got experience of talking to No voters in our family, in meetings, on buses, and at our stalls. it was interesting to see what came out of this. We could understand why people were / are influenced by these things.

We’ve put the results of these workshops into word clouds.

Values & Ideas We Associate with Becoming Independent:

Values & Ideas We Think Led People to Vote No:

These are not definitive results. We could do the same workshop with a different group of people and get a different word cloud. But we think there would be a big overlap with what we came up with.

This is not in any way to denigrate the values we placed in the No cloud. Actually there is overlap between the two clouds. Some are sort of mirror images of each other. There is definitely a relatedness between the two and we think being more aware of that relatedness is helpful.

No

  • strong government
  • wanting to remain in EU
  • family ties
  • stability, continuity
  • not abandoning people

Yes

  • getting who we vote for
  • internationalism
  • sense of community
  • belonging
  • social inclusion

After going through this, we had a better sense of where our values and thinking overlaps with No voters. Of course there’s not a neat match. But it did suggest things that could help us in reframing our conversations.. Ways in which we might reframe our own thinking. And ways in which we might manage to suggest new frames for their thinking.

It’s not easy to change frames. This is definitely a work in progress!

Edinburgh & Lothians P4Indy folk out on the street today!

Hope it wasn’t too chilly over in the Capital. Nice for Joanna Cherry to stop for a chat. She’s coming to our AGM on 16th March. Here are the banners they had on show today:

And if you’d like to see state pension figures on a graph, here they are the equivalent figures (source) shown as percentage of average wage. The red bar is the average EU state pension which replaces half the average EU wage. UK is 7th from the right and replaces only 30% of UK average wage.

EU pension comparison chart
State pensions compared: Proportion of average salary ‘replaced’ by the state in retirement

You can find more information about pensions under the Resources tab at the top of this page.

Warblers In Action for Burns Week

A couple of months back I wrote about the Glasgow P4Indy group’s choir – The P4Indy Warblers. In December we were practising carols and hoping to be able to sing in pensioners’ sheltered housing complexes or in residential homes. We didn’t manage to get any gigs for our carol singing 😟. But we thought maybe we could get some for Burns week.

So we kept on practising together and moved on to Burns songs. We even practised a few Burns poems. We had one appearance lined up at the Maryhill Women’s Centre to sing, recite and play for their Burns Lunch on the 22 Jan. Then suddenly we found ourselves with another two requests for later on that week, one in Carntyne and one in Dennistoun. It was a busy singing week and throat sweeties were a necessity!

We took photos and shot some video footage. I’ve put it together in a short video. Here it is:

We really enjoyed those gigs. We were a bit rough round the edges but we had very forgiving audiences! And we’ll be carrying on practising together. We have other appearances lined up over the next few months. We could do with more people in the singing group….. so if you can sing a bit, or play a bit, or recite a bit…. get in touch using the Contact Page.

Our AGM is on Saturday 16 March in Edinburgh

Put the afternoon of Saturday 16th March into your diary: 1-5pm at Augustine United Church Rooms, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL. Please come and bring your friends with you – especially if they haven’t quite made up their minds about Scottish Independence yet.

  • Doors are open at 1pm. We’re hoping to have some video footage of the Glasgow Pensioners for Indy Warblers choir. During Burns Week, they sang at three Burns Lunches for pensioners in Glasgow.
  • The formal business of the AGM will begin at 1.20pm. We will also be announcing our plans to expand our activities – encouraging and supporting new P4Indy groups around Scotland, more street stalls, training, and organising national events.
  • Tea Break will be at around 2.25pm
  • Followed by our three speakers
    • Ashley Graczyk, Edinburgh City Councillor
    • Paul Kavanagh, blogger extraordinaire and Yes! activist
    • Joanna Cherry MP, QC

Ashley Graczyk was elected to Edinburgh City Council in 2017 as a Scottish Conservative in the Sighthill / Gorgie Ward. But after a year, she quit the Conservative Party and now sits as an Independent. In 2014 she voted No to Scottish Independence but is now a Yes supporter. We’ve asked her to speak about her journey from No to Yes. This is how she described some of what led to that charge of mind:

Along with all the other City of Edinburgh councillors, we have the privilege to govern the Capital city of Scotland, and in my first year as a councillor I saw with my own eyes how we run our city via the council. We also received some insight into the various roles MSPs and MPs have due to working cross-government on various issues. Over time, it became more glaringly obvious to me the absurdity of reserved matters being dealt with by Westminster and not by the Scottish Government (bear in mind I voted No in the 2014 independence referendum), as Scotland is capable of governing on reserved matters too. I became more convinced that Scotland needs political independence to build a different and better Scotland.

The Scotsman

Paul Kavanagh is well known for his blog Wee Ginger Dug – Biting the hand of Project Fear. And since 2014 he has made many, many appearances at Yes! events. This is a photo of the Dug at the anti-Trump demo in Glasgow last year. He was being very patient as Paul kept being stopped by people expressing their appreciate of what he does for the Yes Campaign. Of course we’re hoping the Dug will be with Paul on the 16th March.

Joanna Cherry is MP for Edinburgh South West has been in the news recently amidst all the Westminster Brexit Bourach. Here she is giein’ it laldy to Sammy Wilson of the DUP (from 3 minutes into the video) with Jacob Rees-Mogg looking dumfoonert.

Please come to the AGM and bring your friends with you – especially if they haven’t quite made up their minds about Scottish Independence yet.

Glasgow Group Kicks Off 2019 with Reframing Works…

Ever had a simple argument put to you even though there is no evidence to support it? Ever wondered why you had clear facts rejected? Facts alone do not change people’s opinions. What is going on here? How you we deal with these situations?


Reframing is a technique which shows us how to to put our point across without reinforcing other people’s existing preconceptions. In many cases presenting clear facts actually reinforces people’s existing misconceptions. How we reframe establishment propaganda is perhaps the biggest single challenge facing us in working for self-determination for Scotland.

So this month, our Greater Glasgow Group has invited Bill Mills to come and talk to us. The session will introduce the concepts of Framing and Reframing, and relate them to the current situation in Scotland. Followed by Q&A.

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An Employment Opportunity at SIC

We’ve already posted about the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) new fund-raising campaign This Is It. With over £103,000 in the kitty from the current fund-raiser they are beginning to take on staff.

Currently they are looking for a Campaign Co-ordinator. The role will involve developing and delivering a campaign to lift support for Scottish independence to well above 50%, and will require effective responses to rapidly moving news and political agendas. A track record in organising and running campaigns and the ability to manage staff in a small organisation are essential.

So if you – or one of your younger friends, relatives, neighbours – fancy being the SIC Coordinator here is where to apply: SIC Co-ordinator Job Information

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Christina McKelvie MSP Speaking in Glasgow

On November 9th the Pensioners for Independence were lucky enough to have Christina McKelvie come and talk to us in Glasgow. Members of Pensioners for Indy attended from Edinburgh, Midlothian, Dumfries and other branches as well as Glasgow. 

The talk was organised by Mary McCabe, Co-Convenor of Pensioners for Independence National group. Here is her account of the event:

Christina is Minister for Older People and Equalities in the Scottish Government. However we introduced ourselves to her as a YES group rather than a support group for senior citizens and she addressed us not on behalf of the Scottish Government but as a fellow independence activist. 

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George Kerevan Speaking to Edinburgh & Lothian P4Indy

In 2016 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a Growth Commission to look at the issues that face Scotland’s economy and the opportunities we can seize with independence. The Commission has now published its final report  – click on the image to go to the report website where you can download the report.

In November economist and former Edinburgh MP, George Kerevan spoke at a public meeting organised by the Edinburgh & Lothians Group of P4Indy who asked him to talk about  the Growth Commission Report. 

Keith McLeod, of the Edinburgh group, reports that there was an audience of around 35 folk to listen to the former MP and a lively Q&A session afterwards. His talk was recorded by Edinburgh RIC. Here it is… it’s easier to catch what he says if you use headphones!

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