People flock to Lochaber to discuss future of Scotland
MONICA GIBSON firstname.lastname@example.org ‘SUPER majorities’ and ‘grassroots responsibility’ were some of the hot topics discussed at a conference about Scotland’s future.
Aye2Aye Lochaber presented ‘a better Scotland’ at the Kilmallie Community Centre last Saturday.
Robin McAlpine, director of the Common Weal, ‘Wee ginger dug’ with help from blogger Paul Kavanagh, and Cat Boyd, the co-founder of Radical Independence Campaign and Scottish Left Project, were billed as the main speakers at the all- day event.
John Hutchison from East Laggan and Lochaber Community Trust also shared some insight on how the trust is progressing ahead of its extraordinary general meeting scheduled for later this month.
Representatives from Lochaber Common Weal and ReAct Lochaber made presentations in the morning, and Donna Darnborough spoke on behalf of Lochaber School Bank and Carol Anne Campbell, Lochaber Women For Independence, in the afternoon.
The event coincided with The National roadshow coming to Fort William. More than 30 cars arrived by convoy on Friday as part of the pro-independence paper’s second anniversary celebrations.
Some 75 people attended an evening with Paul Kavanagh on Friday night put on by The National and for Aye2Aye’s event on Saturday, the room was packed.
The majority of the conversation was in support of a second independence vote in Scotland, highlighting what mistakes were made during and since the previous campaign, how to avoid making them again and what progress has been made since 2014.
Cat Boyd told the Lochaber Times it is crucial people realise that when the next referendum happens, the environment is entirely different from 2014. But also it is vital from people go out and have a conversation with others who are undecided or would lean towards the No side as, essentially, there is no point in preaching to the con- verted. Cat said she is striving for ‘super majorities’.
She added: ‘We don’t want just 51 per cent or for it to come down to the last few thousand votes. This time we want there to be absolutely no doubt that this is what the people of Scotland have voted for.’
Robin McAlpine was keen to stress that the vote in 2014 was seen by many as a choice between status quo or change and change scared people but, because of the actions by Westminster, a second referendum ‘is ours to lose’.
He also admitted there was a great deal of heartache regarding the previous vote but focusing on that aspect was as useful as complaining about the rain.
‘There is no point talking about it, he said. ‘ We shouldn’t be where we are, but we are where we are. Let’s just get on with it.’
Robin also stressed the importance of strong white papers and creating a Scotland that works for everyone.
He said: ‘We need to make sure the day after the yes vote we have a road map. The substance of the content is much more important than the process. If we start talking about the process, about being treated unfairly then we have already lost.’
Paul Kavanagh said for Scotland to become independent, people’s mindset is as important as anything.
He said: ‘ We need to believe that Scotland is equally as capable of being an independent nation and act as if we are. Independence is self- determined, it begins within you. If you can think independently, you can be independent.’
Speakers, left to right, were John Hutchison, ELCCT; Eddie Morgan, Aye2Aye Lochaber; Cat Boyd; Gordon Cuthbertson, Lochaber Common Weal; Robin McAlpine; Paul Kavanagh; Lorraine Wheelan, Re-act Lochaber; and Donna Darnbrough, Lochaber School Bank.
Members of the the ‘freedom convoy’ outside the Kilmallie hall.
Members of the ELLCT, left to right, are John Hutchison, Patricia Jordan and Christine Hutchison, explain the concept to 11-yearold Connor Peebles. Picture: Iain Ferguson