Common Weal North Glasgow meeting attracts big crowd
A few days after the referendum I wrote about how in many ways we had won. I had come to realise that if you want to change things you need to start from the bottom up. The referendum energised people politically and facilitated a coming together of citizens behind a common goal. For many the goal was not so much independence for its own sake, but some saw independence as a way to achieve a fairer, engaged, more civil and prosperous society. There was always a danger of this newfound political engagement dwindling after the vote. However, last night the Art School was standing room only as a diverse group of people turned up to the Glasgow North Commom Weal meeting. A phenomenon that is being repeated in all sort of groups across the country.
The Common Weal is a group that believes that a country is a better place to live if it makes decisions based on an ‘All Of Us First’ approach as opposed to ‘Every Man For Themselves’. They look at how other countries do things and compile reports that show how best practice can be applied to Scotland. You can see their Key Ideas here in a simple format. They believe that change should be community driven and they are putting a lot of effort into setting up local groups and meeting places. They believe that everyone should be able to get involved and should feel entitled to contribute to change. Given this ethos, I was wondering how the meeting, with such a large turnout, would facilitate the empowerment of people and allow all to contribute, and I was pleasantly surprised.
At the start we had an introduction from James, the group leader, then we heard from three of the Commom Weal staff members. Liam O’Hare spoke to us about the ideas of The Common Weal which you can read about here. Angela Haggerty gave us an update on the soon-to-be-launched media wing which will comprise of 5 full time journalists – an initiative to try to combat what was seen by many as poor journalistic balance during the referendum campaign. The website will also accept submissions from other groups and have a common social media space for people to share ideas. Finally, Ivan McKee of Business for Scotland spoke about setting up permanent physical spaces for people in the community to meet.
These talks were interesting but it was after this that the meeting really embraced the Common Weal philosophy. The room was split into sections and people were invited to join the group that they were most interested in. So we had some people discussing policy, some discussing election strategy, some discussing a launch event, some discussing setting up a permanent meeting space and others discussing the blog and social media. Each of these groups reported back at the end of the night and we now have some early ideas for a way forward.
In the coming months these ideas will results in actual changes in our community, and similar things will be happening in groups all over the country. All of the groups will be doing their own thing but will be able to come together in the Common Space of the new media site after it is launched and that way we will be able to share best practice.
While it is early days, the fact that thousands of people are meeting all over the country and planning a way forward is great news for Scotland. We should all be optimistic about the future. So, if you are in the North Glasgow Area, and are interested in getting involved, then I would urge you to like the Common Weal North Glasgow Facebook Page to stay informed and to find out about upcoming meetings.
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