28th September 2014: a chat about #whatnowscotland

Tea and Cake // a chat about #whatnowscotland

Image: Katherine MacKinnon

28th September 2014

A chat about #whatnowscotland is the second of the Tea and Cake discussion series. Kindly hosted by the Referendum Cafe with sincere thanks to Lizzie Smith and Katherine MacKinnon.

Following a No vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 the aim was to bring a diverse group of people together to figure out what now.


Number of people: 50 – 60

Current position: Golden rule was “Please don’t ask people what they voted” though I am aware that there was a mixture of Yes and No voters in attendance

Age group: 18 – 65

Putting aside whether attendees voted Yes or No the aim was to step away from this binary way of thinking and if change is desired to figure out what is important to us and make it happen anyway.

The session began with an informal get together over lots of tea and cake! We heard from Laura Eaton Lewis, Dougal Perman and Darren Loki McGarvey before  setting three topics for discussion and splitting into smaller groups to tackle these.

Below are the links to the recorded provocations made by the speakers and the notes from the session.

Laura Eaton Lewis

Dougal Perman

Darren Loki McGarvey

Discussion groups were then formed around three topics:

Open Source Tech in relation to democracy
This session was led and written up by Sarah Drummond from Snook and you can read a full rundown and note of the session here.

Scotland’s Natural Resources
Notes coming soon!

Notes coming soon!

You can also listen to the group feedback here and the full playlist of all recordings from the day can be accessed here

On arriving, attendees were asked to deposit their complaints and frustrations into a RANT BOX in order to make space for a positive and constructive session.

RANT BOX • BBC RIP • Failure of information/media particularly for older generations • 1 week after a NO and we’re bombing Iraq AGAIN!? • Everything we were afraid of is coming to pass. I’m angry, because I knew this would happen, I’m angry because people I love didn’t listen. I’m angry that I’m angry and I know that isn’t helping me move forward. It isn’t helping Scotland move forward but right now it feels so hollow. We must rest, revive ourselves and move forward in time. • “Austerity” measures • We need to let people know about TTIP and what effect it may have on NHS, Education etc etc • I’m upset by the fact that now is the time that we need places like this to stay open but it’s the Referendum Café’s last day! • Today I feel particularly sad about the outcome and quite disheartened by what has materialized over the last week • Why do I constantly get abuse and confusion for being a socialist and a businessman? • Businesspeople should run council projects funding? And run budget projections and finance departments as council staff seem incapable of counting: i.e. You’ll have had yer trams”

Second, they were asked to suggest topics of discussion privately to feed into setting of discussion groups later in the session.

TOPICS BOX • Making the most of the momentum: engagement beyond political structures • How can we come together as a force that is listened to? • Getting more involved • A new image/way of doing leadership • How to create a “networked” strategy between all the groups without it being a top down structure • WMD/Security • WMD/Faslane • How will we get rid of Trident if still in the UK? • What steps do we need to support towards land reform • Land reform & community ownership/control of resources • Scotland’s natural resources • Fracking • How do we use the energy from the campaign to make Scotland and the UK a better place? • How do we continue to involve the widest possible selection of society in political intervention/activism or just consult/involve • How do we develop a support structure that ensures we get the media we need and deserve? • Craftivism • Constitution How can think tanks like The Common Weal interact and create policy in Holyrood? • International voice: Can wee nations be a positive voice? • How do we wake up the rest of the UK and engage them in the conversation on what society we want that has been happening in Scotland? • Voting system • Westminster general election DISCUSSIONS • Media • Open Source Technology as a way to engage in politics/rethink leadership • Scotland’s Natural Resources

On leaving, we asked the attendees to leave a note of their final thoughts.

FINAL THOUGHTS • Great to see so many people still engaged and with so much knowledge. I will continue to research and take part in local groups and discussion • Very positive: Some great ideas – I’m going to give blood ASAP. Start simple • Very interesting and thought provoking. As an ‘older person’ I think my generation are afraid of engaging with social media. They still believe what is written in newspapers and on TV. More local forums are needed to teach and engage them. • I found it helpful to discuss issues that affect Scotland and what the way forward should be. • Discussion groups need agreed structures to be inclusive. Many people are unused to facilitated meetings and sometimes jump in without raising hands etc so loudest voices get heard which is what we need to get away from. • Hey! Cracking meeting, really diverse crowd and opinions. Leaving feeling hopeful and inspired. Thank you so very much! • I have lots of opportunities to communicate with community groups through my work. I’m going to have a good think about how I can use some of the great ideas that I heard today to try to benefit them. • Let us not underestimate the power and value of discussion. Constructive discussion brings community, solidarity and positive action. It must complement the information overload that is the internet; help us sift it, make sense of it and share it. • I am going to get more involved with the community and more in tune with the common weal and other such focus groups. I really need to bring engagement to the fore. • Thanks! I feel much more positive and motivated to take action in new ways; blood donor, organ donor, attend local council meetings, community projects • I’d like to know what local action I can take with others in my area (burnside) to help keep the momentum and awareness going.

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