Pictures: IdeaSpace festival at #SNP16 overwhelmed by interest from party delegates


Fringe rallies discussing radical policy alternatives maxed-out by SNP delegates

THE IDEASPACE festival organised to provide a platform for radical policy ideas at the 2016 SNP Conference has drawn the interest of hundreds of party delegates.

The fringe festival was organised by the Common Weal think tank and supported by 40 campaigning and charitable organisations to discuss policy issues including land reform, a Scottish national investment bank (Snib) a new ‘white paper’ for Scottish independence and measures to enhance democratic life in Scotland.

Common Weal campaigns organiser, Max Wiszniewski, told CommonSpace that it was difficult to calculate numbers at the conference as it was free and non-ticketed, but that over 1000 attendees, mainly SNP delegates, had attended by lunchtime on the second day (Friday 14 October).

Overspill meeting from packed session at IdeaSpace

He said: “It’s great to see so many SNP delegates here.

“We hope they will take the big ideas being discussed here to the party leadership.”

The three day festival was established by groups who couldn’t afford to hold fringe events at the SNP conference due to prohibitively high prices at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) venue. It is being held across the full three days of conference at the Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) adjacent to the SECC.

Rally on the democratisation of Scotland

Participative discussions at the festival include topics such as welfare and decent work, the changing face of Scotland’s foreign affairs, and the idea of a ‘progressive alliance’ between left of centre parties at Westminster.

Speakers include Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman, commentator Lesley Riddoch and renowned journalist David Pratt alongside SNP MPs Philippa Whitford and George Kerevan and former Scottish Government minister Kenny MacAskill.

One SNP delegate, Iain Mackenzie, who was splitting his time between the conference and IdeaSpace said: “The turnout is great, the themes fit in so well with the SNP conference just across the way.”

“I was at the land reform meeting yesterday, there were some good discussions. I really appreciate what’s going on here.”

Part of the stalls space at the GSC, playing host to the 40 organisations supporting IdeaSpace

Pictures: CommonSpace

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.