Dr Kirsty Hughes: Scotland & the Brexit Deal

Julia Laurie of Edinburgh & Lothians P4Indy writes:

Dr Kirsty Hughes is Director and founder of the Scottish Centre on European Relations. A researcher, writer and commentator on European politics and policy, she has worked at a number of leading European think tanks. She has published extensively, as well as contributing to a wide range of national and international media outlets. Her recent research focus includes: the UK, Scotland and Brexit. This is link to an article Kirsty published on Monday the 25th of January – England’s Scotland Panic – What is to be Done?

Kirsty talked to us on three different topics, firstly “the previous view of the EU towards the UK  and their views now”, secondly, “the EU view of Scotland”, and thirdly “border issues”. I was going to write a little of what she said, but decided it will be so much more interesting for you to listen to the recording.

Our members had some very interesting questions :

  • Can you explain what article 16 is?
  • Travel and trade issues between Scotland and England when we are Independent.
  • Can Scotland work directly with the EU at the moment?
  • Do you think joining EFTA is a good idea, and would the current members agree to us joining?
  • Will Ireland reunite before Scotland becomes Independent?
  • Also, many questions about the requirement for policy papers, and a firm vision of an Independent Scotland from our SNP government. 

There were many more questions, but I hope the above has given you a reasonable sample of how interesting the Q&A session was.

Our next Edinburgh & Lothians Group meeting:

At our next meeting on March the 9th, our speaker is George Gunn. George  has been a deep-sea fisherman, a driller for oil in the North Sea, a journalist, playwright and poet. 

I  have one of his books, The Great Edge, a story that brings together lives -ancient and modern – on the northern plateau where Scotland stops and starts, where history and myth fuel everyday reality, and where nothing is as it seems It sounds like a fascinating read,  and I  hope to read it before George’s talk.  I think it will be a very interesting and fascinating meeting.

It’s Quiz Time…… Scottish Place Names Quiz

Jane Pearn of our Selkirk group writes….

We in the Selkirk group are looking ahead to better times, when we can make the case for independence person-to-person. We want to make our stall attractive and engaging, so we are trying to raise some funds to stock it. We hope that our Scottish Place Names quiz will entertain you while we are still locked down. Best of luck to anyone who wants to have a go!

Have a go, support Selkirk Pensioners for Independence, and maybe win a prize!

Enter the quiz by downloading the quiz form here, fill it in, and send it off. Only £1 to enter. The details of where to send it are included on the form.

Talkin’ Bout Our Generation – Why We’re Important and Why We’re Not

In January 2021, our Greater Glasgow group invited journalist and commentator Ruth Wishart to our meeting. As well being a very talented writer and broadcaster, Ruth is of our generation. She spoke for about 30 minutes on the the topic of why our generation – the Boomers – is important in the campaign for independence. But also why we are not important. If that has intrigued you, listen to her here.

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And just to give you a taste of the questions to Ruth after the talk, here are some of them:

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Virtual Burns Supper – bring your own haggis!

Greater Glasgow Pensioners for Indy Group held our first ever Burns Supper on 25th Jan. And things being as they are it had to be done online.

Our singers, musicians, reciters and speech-makers gave their all from their own sitting-rooms and they created a very enjoyable evening. Forty people joined us from all over Scotland and one guest “jetted in” from Boston, Massachusetts.

This was the order of proceedings for the evening:

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Craig Berry talks about the SNP Commonweal Group

Julia Laurie, convenor of Edinburgh & Lothians P4Indy group, writes:

This is from our first meeting of 2021, and the year has not started well, with bad weather, rising Covid numbers, not to mention the end of the Brexit transition period with the awful consequences for Scotland becoming immediately apparent. So it’s good to get together again with our local members..

One of our members suggested that we invite Craig Berry. P4Indy does not support any individual political party, but whether you are a member of the SNP or simply lend them your vote, we do need the party to achieve our goal, and certainly need to know of developments within the party. So I decided to ask Craig. He responded very quickly, quite delighted to have the opportunity to talk to us, and I am very glad he did, as it was a really enjoyable meeting. You can listen to it here:

Background …

Craig started by telling us a little about himself, and how he came to set up the SNP Commonweal group. He is a fervent believer in the Common Weal think-tank aims and he wants to bring as many of these aims directly into the SNP, with the aim of trying to influence policy-making.

We had a great variety of questions from our members:

  • is there too much centralisation within the SNP,
  • are policies agreed at Conference by the members taken forward,
  • Do you think we can persuade the SNP to make the election in May a plebiscite?
  • How do you endeavour to engage with SNP policies?
  • What do you think of the Salmond/Neal recovery plan?
  • how we can influence the party,  which made the meeting very interesting, and indeed fun.

Overall, it was a very good meeting, and our members who were able to join, really enjoyed it. Craig comes over as a forward looking, passionate young activist, and boy, do we need plenty of them! I do hope you enjoyed listening to this recording.

At our next meeting….

… to be held on Tuesday the 9th February, we have Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director and Founder of the Scottish Centre on European Relations speaking to us. She has published extensively, including books, reports, and policy papers, as well as contributing to a wide range of national and international media outlets. Her research focus has included: the UK, Scotland and Brexit, EU democracy, the politics of the Eurozone crisis, the EU enlargement to central and eastern Europe, and Turkey’s EU accession process. Kirsty spoke to us in November of 2019, and much has changed since then, so we are very much looking forward to this meeting.