Mike Russell: Path to Independence

Mike Russell

Our Greater Glasgow Group invited Mike Russell, former MSP and Cabinet Secretary, to their October online meeting. Having retired from Holyrood in May this year, Mike is focussing on his job of SNP President and his recent appointment as political director of the SNP Independence Unit.

He began with some reflections on the murder of David Amess which had happened just that morning.

Then moving on to the main theme of his talk he talked about :

  • we need to have an independence campaign where we meet people, talk to them and change their minds, convert them to independence ….that is very different from the Holyrood election campaign and it won’t be possible till we’re further out of Covid
  • he stressed that Scottish Government have said clearly that they will introduce an Independence Referendum Bill at Holyrood and then it’s up to Westminster to decide what they will do.

Mike described three tasks which he has given himself in his new position:

  • start the flow of information again. The SNP is doing that and so are organisations like Believe in Scotland, 
  • establish better relationships across the whole of the independence movement. Find ways to work together positively and courteously while agreeing to differ on some issues. He has started that process by getting together with some Yes Movement groups to create a Transition Constitution for a newly independent Scotland.
  • build up the capabilities of the SNP to go into a referendum, in terms of its structures, etc.

In terms of what independence will mean, Mike reckons that we have many of the same questions now as we did in 2014. But some of those questions will have different answers now. They may need fresh answers after the pandemic and after Brexit. And we will need to provide solid information on those issues.

Listen here:

You can listen / share / download the recording of the meeting here:

Here are some of the questions and issues we discussed with Mike:

  • How will you deal with the level of state pension and the fears that will no doubt be stepped up again about losing it?
  • We need a commitment and concrete information about currency. It’s clear from our stalls that people need that commitment.
  • Is SNP still using the Sustainable Growth Commission as a basis for going forward? or are you drawing up a new approach? Which groups are you working with?
  • Has Scottish Government given up on Section 30 route and is instead going straight to a refernedum?
  • Are Labour party supporter the most obvious group of voters to target in terms of bringing  more people to Yes.
  • The UKGov commissions its own Scottish polls. Can they be forced to release the results? Could ScotGov commission its own polls?
  • Why can’t we build ferries here in Scotland?
  • Part of challenge we have is getting good information into sound bites. How do we get our own slogans out there. And also target them to age groups. Led By Donkeys has done a good job in getting people’s attention.
  • The independent commission on referendums met in 2017 and have reported on the rules of practice on referendums. They recommended against any kind of super majority or voting thresholds. Is the Scottish Government taking this into account in its Referendum Bill?

Day of Action & Local Groups’ Round-Up

Now that Covid restrictions have been eased, Pensioners for Indy have been getting out and about again and were there in force for the Believe in Scotland Sept 18th Day of Action last Saturday. Here’s what been going on….

Edinburgh & Lothians group

The stall was set out on Saturday and had a visit from Gordon McIntrye-Kemp, the instigator of Believe in Scotland. That’s him on the right. Other folk were out leafletting in the nearby streets.

Daniel commented: We were in Bruntsfield Place, down from Holy Corner. It was an interesting stall day. A lot of negative comment from very obvious Unionists. Politely refuted and sent on their ways. Almost exhausted our 400 copies of the top notch BusinessforScotland 30 pager supplement. Good effort by all involved.

Edinburgh & Lothians Pensioners4Indy, 18th Sept 2021

Ayrshire Group

Our Ayr group were also back on the streets for the Day of Action. The first time they’ve campaigned out and about since the lockdown.

Selkirk & District

Next up is our Selkirk & District Group. Again out with their stall for the Believe in Scotland Day of Action. We really like their stall signs : Yes Already? Undecided? Definitely No? whichever anyone was, the Scotland the Brief booklet was there to take away.

From Jane: following the conversations we often have at our stalls with younger Yessers, one of our group has set up a Yes Selkirk Facebook group. We hope this will encourage sharing ideas and activities across the generations.

Greater Glasgow

The folk in Glasgow have been back on the streets campaigning for some months now. On Saturday there were two stalls, one out in Milngavie and one in Argyl Street. It took some perseverance to get to their spot near Miller Street – they had to find a way in avoiding the roads blocked off for Orange Lodge Marches. But once there, they had a good time.

Mary says: On Saturday 18th, with most of the city centre closed off for Orange Walks, it took 45 minutes to drive the 10 minute journey from Dennistoun to Argyle Street but we made it in the end. Greater Glasgow Pensioners for Indy had a great Day of Action with stalls both in Argyle Street and in Milngavie (thanks to Anna Gillies!) Great chat, generous donations and a new wee dug!

And some news and changes about the Glasgow Group’s Tuesday stall: The Tuesday mini-stall at Glasgow Green with banners from the National Banner Library is moving to the same Argyle Street site as on a Thursday and will be the full-on stall with the gazebo and all.  That way we hope to have more footfall amongst the passers-by. It will also be handier for volunteers coming in from the West End.  The time remains the same: Tuesdays from 2pm-4pm.

If you’re free on Thursdays, you can find the stall from 12-2pm at Miller St / Argyl St corner. The Milngavie stall is in the centre of the town every other Friday.

Interested in helping our stall teams?

All help is gladly accepted! Just email info@pensionersforindependence.scot, tell us where you live and we’ll put you in touch with our local stall team. And if there’s not a local team, we’ll have a chat with you to see if we can help you start one. 😀

Colette Walker – Independence for Scotland Party

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

In our recent online meeting, Colette Walker, co-founder and leader  of the ISP, joined us to talk about the new party. There are a number of new Independence parties, standing solely on the List, who aim to increase the number of Independence supporting MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. One new party, Scotia Future, believes in an independent Scotland remaining out of the EU, and it may stand candidates on the constituency and  list seats.

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Scottish Constitution Project – Have Your Say

Have Your Say in the Future Governance of Scotland 

Some 11 years ago a small group of Scots decided to draft a ‘model’ written constitution for Scotland rather than just talk about the need for one.  The Constitution for Scotland Project (CfS) has grown from that modest beginning. It advocates Scottish independence as a matter of community democracy. And it exists to encourage consultation on a draft constitution.

The project has moved on to its next stage. The consultation provides an opportunity for anyone who wishes to contribute to the future governance of Scotland. Scots are invited to contribute suggestions for amendments and additions to the basic draft. In this way, it will become a real People’s Constitution. So we will create it from the grassroots up.

Read More

A People’s Constitution

Julia Laurie, co-convenor of Pensioners for Independence Edinburgh and Lothians, writes:

The following recording is from our meeting held on Tuesday the 28th July. Some time ago, the Greater Glasgow P4Indy invited me to one of their meetings when Bob Ingram of A Constitution for Scotland was speaking. I found it wonderful listening to Bob, and my reaction was almost visceral.

I have read some of the Draft Constitution written by Professor Mark McNaught, of the University of Rennes. It is very good. But it was not until I heard Bob speaking that I realised how important it is that a Scottish Constitution should be written by the people for the people.

I contacted Bob, and was delighted when he agreed to talk to our group, the following recording is the outcome. Before listening, I urge you to read the Constitution Summary.

Bob Ingram speaking to Edinburgh & Lothians P4Indy on 28July 2020

I really hope you have enjoyed Bob’s talk as much as I did. I have now heard it 3 times, and it affects me the same way every time. As you will have heard Bob say, they started with 22 people 11 years ago, and now they are ready to launch their Constitution.

Have a look at their web site Constitution for Scotland . If you can donate, no matter how small the amount, it will enable them to launch the Constitution. As a well-known supermarket says “every little helps” or as we might prefer to say “Mony a Mickle Maks a Muckle”.

I believe this constitution is vitally important, please spread knowledge of its existence to all your friends, colleagues, and any other groups you are part of, and remember political parties come and go, but a country’s constitution is forever.