The Gathering: 500 leaders from grassroots Yes movement

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By Irene McEwan

Hats off to Eddie Smith and Jason Baird for a well planned and inspiring first Gathering of members of the Yes movement. A hall full of at least 500 people on a beautiful sunny Sunday demonstrates clearly not only their wish for independence but also their wish for true grassroots involvement in achieving a new Scotland. There were no glum faces but plenty of welcoming smiles and shared experiences. Groups from Orkney to the Scottish Borders were represented and ready for participation and action. Congratulations also go to AyeMail who have worked hard with the administration to ensure success.

Although Mhairi Black could not attend in person her video talk sending her good wishes set the scene for the day. Dennis Canavan’s keynote speech was well received. It was clear, authoritative and hopeful.

Passion in their hearts

Choosing a topic for workshop participation from the 21 on offer was not easy but it seemed to work well and all topics were covered. I was particularly interested to see that topic number 21 was discussing ‘Big bang’ to mark the moment Indyref2 is called”. It was clearly apparant that there is a marvellous talent of thinkers in Scotland with facts at their finger tips, passion in their hearts and a wish to work together. This is what made the occasion truly inspiring. The facilitators did a particularly good job in encouraging groups and keeping the ideas flowing. Each of the groups made a short presentation using powerpoint considering the agreed proposal, why it was needed, the resources needed eg skill sets, money, time etc and the impact it would hopefully achieve. The use of the IndyApp would help to find and share resources and encourage mass participation.

A vote was held to choose 5 topics to be developed in greater detail during the afternoon session. These sessions were attended by those who were particularly interested and/or who may have a specialist knowledge. Those not involved heard short 2 minute presentations from reprsentatives from Business for Scotland, Keep Scotland the brand, iScot Magazine, Independence Live, The Scottish Hand and The Indy Pledge. All of these people were then available to discuss issues.

Energised

The aim of the day was to have produced a networked body of activists from different communities, energised by collectively exploring 21 topics essential to our preparation for winning IndyRef2; to have turned face to face meetings and networking into direct contact via private messaging using the IndyApp and to provide synopsis for each topic to be used as profiles for each new “Gathering Topic” group on the IndyApp. These new groups will be responsible for making their topic post on the National Forum of IndyApp 2.0.

Well done all. Great networking on the day and great networking to come on the IndyApp.

The Gathering was held in The Albert Halls, Stirling Sunday 27th May 2018