Our Greater Glasgow group are out on our stalls twice a week in the city centre in Argyl St, and every fortnight out in Milngavie. But later this month they have a different sort o action planned: a demonstration outside the UK Government Glasgow Hub in Atlantic Square, Glasgow, G2 8JQ.
Might lobbying techniques be useful for Indy campaigners? And now that ScotGov has fired the starting pistol for the indy campaign, maybe a lobbyist sympathetic to Scottish independence could give us a few clues as to what might be worth considering? So in July, our Greater Glasgow group asked Grant Thoms if he’d talk to us about lobbying.
Grant is currently a part-time lecturer in public relations at the University of Stirling and runs his own communications consultancy working with social enterprises and small businesses. Previously he was the Vice Chair for Political Engagement on the Board of the Scottish Training Federation where he led on STF’s involvement with MPs, MSPs and councillors.
The video of the meeting will be broadcast as one of IndependenceLive Media’s Indy Jigsaw Series in September. We’ll add to that when we have it but in the meantime, here is the audio of the talk and discussion.
When Grant talked to us, he was recovering from a bout of Covid, so bear with him when his voice gets a bit croaky.
Grant had a few slides which he referred to during his talk:
All Under One Banner are on the go again. On March 5th 2,500 (or 3000 or 3,500 depending on who’s counting) pro-indy activists gathered once more; this time in Ferguslie Park Paisley. Nothing like the 100,000 who used to sweep through Glasgow and Edinburgh. Not in the same league as the 20,000 who made it over seas and rough roads to remote Campbeltown. But for these cautious, post-lockdown times, with many people still shielding and others fallen out of the way of campaigning or even of travelling beyond their hometown, I call that a good start.
Greater Glasgow branch of Pensioners for Independence played a full part.
On this occasion the route ended where it began. So it was a lot easier to erect the gazebo together, then leave two of us (Sheena and Rosalyn) in charge of the stall while the rest of us (Mary, Heather, Isabel, Phil, Neil and Frankie the dug) carried the banner on the rally.
Unlike the last two occasions (where pro-indy rallies were organised in Glasgow and in Edinburgh during a hiatus in the lockdown) we were permitted to follow a central, high profile route, right down the High Street and past the University of the West of Scotland. Everywhere we were warmly greeted by the locals. There was no sign of the half-dozen or so counter-revolutionaries who used to huddle together at some point on our route, glaring and waving handfuls of Union flags.
Back in the Park…
Back at the park there was a proper rally, albeit with fewer stalls than in the past. There were stalls from the Low Rent activists and from the Socialists. Artists displayed their work, including a range of beautifully decorated slates. There were no commercial kiosks, but volunteers at one of the stalls provided sandwiches, hot drinks and home baking.
The rally was jointly organised by AUOB and by Make Poverty History. The theme was support for beleaguered Ukraine. The Ukrainian national anthem was played. Speakers included politicians such as George Adam MSP, a range of representatives from socialist groups and of course Ukrainians. Rosalyn provided a Ukrainian flag for our stall, to fly alongside the usual Saltire.
There was home baking from Sheena and from Colin’s wife Morag (Granular Tsars, so a Russian theme). We had jewellery made by Sheena and Yes Stones painted by Sheena and Heather. Donations to the stall were very welcome!
AUOB have already organised more monthly marches in different towns throughout the rest of the year. The next is planned for Arbroath on the 2nd of April, as a (delayed!) celebration of the 700th anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath. The one after that will be Glasgow, on 14th May.
After the (still lingering) pandemic, after the numerous lockdowns, it’s great to declare to the world: the indy movement is still here, we’re still determined and we’re back marching!
Allan Armstrong is a founding member of RIC, the Radical Independence Campaign. RIC were very active in the 2014 campaign. Membership fell away after that as people became involved in other issues. But the core group remained and is now attracting more members, old and new.