Scottish Independence Convention set for biggest conference yet

Caitlin Logan

SIC’s November conference will consider how to build bridges to independence

PRO-INDEPENDENCE parties, groups and people will be brought together at the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) national conference on Saturday 4 November, entitled ‘Build: Bridges to Indy’.

Taking place at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the event will have capacity for almost 2000 people – double the attendance of the sold out national conference in January.  

Tickets are on sale now, with confirmed speakers including SIC co-convener Elaine C Smith, journalist Lesley Riddoch, Common Weal director Robin McAlpine and independence campaigner and Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) Campaign co-founder Liam Stevenson.

Robin McAlpine, director of Common Weal, said the event is an opportunity for the independence movement to consider how to increase their numbers. He said: “The purpose of this conference is to ask what it is that the public wants from the independence movement if we are to persuade them to back independence.

“It’s kind of like saying ‘look, this isn’t about us, it’s about them’.” Robin McAlpine, Common Weal 

“We’ve all been good at keeping things going since 2014 but perhaps not so good at stopping and asking what it is that soft No voters are asking for to help them reconsider where they are.

“It’s kind of like saying ‘look, this isn’t about us, it’s about them’. There is going to be a lot of really valuable information for people throughout this day.”

The event will also hear from Dr Ian Black of Herriot Watt University, who was commissioned to explore how different groups of voters now view independence and a second referendum and how different factors, such as Brexit, are impacting on this.

Lesley Riddoch said of the event and its ambitions: “This is a vital time for Yessers to come together and explore how the movement can make a co-ordinated and effective case for independence, which doesn’t ebb and flow with the electoral cycle, but builds trust, confidence, local knowledge and ambition within the movement and offers alternative takes on media stories to receptive Scots – 24/7.

There will be issues of funding, organisation, strategy and capacity to consider – my impression is that activists are more than ready to help the SIC take it on.”

The Scottish Independence Convention is a coalition of organisations including pro-independence political parties, national organisations such as Women for Independence, the Radical Independence Campaign, Labour for Independence, and Common Weal, as well as representatives of various other grassroots groups.

A spokesperson from Women for Independence said: “Women for Independence are delighted to be a key partner in the Build: Bridges to Indy event hosted by the Scottish Independence Convention. At this moment we see the Scottish Independence Convention as the glue to hold the movement together.

“This upcoming event is hosting a positive format which will help us build bridges with others as well as each other and Woman for Independence are looking forward to seeing everyone there.”

“We have seen the chaos unleashed by the Westminster government’s inability to find a way through the post European referendum landscape.” Richard Walker, SIC

Richard Walker, Vice-Convenor of the SIC, said that events such as this, which aim to “refresh and invigorate” the existing independence movement, while also aiming to build bridges towards winning over new supporters, are “imperative”.

He said: “In the last few months we have seen the chaos unleashed by the Westminster government’s inability to find a way through the post European referendum landscape.

“This, on top of a transparent attempt to undermine the Scottish Parliament and deny it 111 powers it should by right assume from Europe, is making more and more people realise that independence is the only way to safeguard Scotland’s interests.

“As a movement we need to be both welcoming and campaigning and the Scottish Independence Convention’s second Build conference will be an inspirational event, equipping us with arguments to persuade those reconsidering the independence option.”

Entertainment will also feature throughout the day, with a full programme to be released in the lead up to the event. 

Picture courtesy of Scottish Independence Convention

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