Scotland in Union staged a supporters' event in Glasgow last week, to launch its West of Scotland branch. SIU's Selina Doran reports
On the 24th November 2015, around sixty Scotland in Union supporters gathered in the Corinthian Club, Glasgow, to launch the West of Scotland branch. The night began with a welcome speech by the SIU director, Alastair Cameron, detailing the purpose of the organisation and its recent news of appointing two full-time staff members.
The organisers of the Glasgow event, Patrick and Selina, explained that the rationale of the West of Scotland branch was to win back support for our Union in areas like Glasgow, which narrowly voted ‘Yes’ in the referendum, and Inverclyde, where a No vote was secured by just eighty-six votes. Scotland in Union will communicate our positive vision for Scotland in the UK through, for example, a new leaflet designed for the run-up to the Holyrood elections next year. Anyone interested in helping with leafletting in the West of Scotland should get in touch via the Scotland in Union info email account.
Our two guest speakers, Neil Lovatt and Professor Jim Gallagher, then gave their thoughts on the implications of the referendum and how Scotland could now move forwards.
An expert in the finance industry, Mr Lovatt is currently writing a book (available at bit.ly/RWBLiveBook), which critically interrogates the economic claims made about Scottish independence. At the event, his talk focused on debunking common myths presented about Scottish independence, such as the supposed “Scotland is too wee”. Mr Lovatt compared the land mass and population of Scotland with the other three nations in the United Kingdom, showing that the wide open spaces of Scotland result in higher average costs-to-serve, which are, of course, currently shared across the board. It seems that far from being “too wee”, it is actually solidarity between all parts of these islands which supports our farthest-flung communities.
The second speaker, Professor Jim Gallagher, worked as a senior civil servant for many years and was an advisor to Better Together. The purpose of Professor Gallagher’s talk was to detail the purpose, interdependency and benefit of the social, political and economic unions of the United Kingdom; although he also touched on the negative repercussions of the referendum. The SNP had intended to divide Britain, he suggested, but had only succeeded in dividing Scotland. We must work to repair this damage.
Once the two speakers had presented, the audience had a number of questions ranging from what No voters can do in the meantime, to the future plans of the SNP, as well as the risk of more referendums in the future. The Director of Scotland in Union, Mr Cameron, finished the event by stating: “If I thought there there was no risk of separation, I would not be here - but on the other hand if there was no hope left for Scotland in the UK, I would not be here either. We all need to play our part in strengthening the UK, in a positive way. If do all do something for the UK, every day, we will see a return to normality, and to a confident, united Scotland within a strong, positive United Kingdom.”
To help out, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some feedback from attendees at the event:
“I came away further inspired to do all I can.”
“Definitely encouraging going forward to next May”
“I found the experience somewhat calming for frayed nerves and I feel more now that all is not lost.”
“Thank you so much for the brilliant organisation of last night’s presentation.”