Yes Iona

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By Mike Small

Over 100 people packed out Iona village hall on Sunday night to discuss ‘Scotland’s Future’ in an event organised by YesMull, Bella and folk from the island. Football practice was brought forward so that the team could make it, and thanks go to Davy Kirkpatrick who ran a boat from Fionnphort to bring Muilleachs over for the night.

Short presentations from Lesley Orr, Cat Boyd and Alan Bissett and myself were followed by a discussion.

Here’s the questions put from the floor:

What chance have we got to get rid of Trident?

Why do women still seem to be reluctant to votes Yes. Why is this and what – if anything – can be done?

What role would trade unions play in an independent Scotland?

Will the Labour Party be better in an independent Scotland?

How will we create a new constitution? What will the process be and how can we stop it being ‘handed down’?

What scope is there to deliver further decentralisation so we don’t create a ‘mini-me’ state in Edinburgh?

What will independence mean for rural Scotland?

(Greetings of solidarity were brought from Wales)

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We asked the audience to fill out anonymous forms saying where they were on a 0-10 continuum between No and Yes. Out of 91 who filled in a slip, here’s the result:

YES 10(44) 9(2) 8(1) 7(15) 6(4) 5(20 )4(1) 3(2) 2(0) 1(0) 0(2) NO

The process is in no way scientific and psephologically flawed. For one thing it was a clear Yes event, which was bound to bring Yes voters, as a helpful and confirmed No voter pointed out after.

It’s maybe more interesting to see how a random collection of ‘Undecided’s’ featured? There’s 40 in the 7-4 bracket and a big 20 right on the middle of indecision.

What was impressive about the event was the turnout, which was huge given the population of the island.

Some complained that all of the speakers (and many of the audience) were not from the island. Others thought this was a key strength. Either way it’s probably a sign of the importance of the event that anyone that was on the island wanted to come along. We did also have feedback that by bringing in outside speakers we depersonalised it for locals allowing them to speak more freely.

Thanks to Gordon Bruce and Colin Morrison for organising and Mark Jardine for chairing on the night.



Categories: Commentary

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5 replies

  1. Iona is a very special place and I will always remember the day I visited. Not a cloud in the sky.

    Good to see no stone is left unturned in our Referendum fight.

  2. Reassuring to see so many people attend the meeting, and by their expression, keen to contribute.

  3. My Mum and Dad are in that picture! They were in Iona for the weekend – go there at least once a year for a fix of that special place. Both pensioners, they are confirmed Yes voters but often get depressed at the level of No voters in their social circle in East Kilbride. Spoke to them last night and they were bowled over by the level of positivity in the room. Impressed by all of the speakers but especially the two female speakers. Back home after a fix of Iona with a renewed spring in their step.

  4. Pleased, but not surprised, to see this report of a well attended Yes meeting on Iona. There have been several such meetings held in Oban and another takes place tonight sponsored by Business Scotland.in the Argyllshire Gathering Hall at 7.30.
    Previous speakers here recently for the Yes cause have been Michael Russell, Alan Bissett, Tasmina Sheikh Ahmed, Prof Alan MacInnes, and a memorable house -full event in the Corran Halls addressed by Ian Hamilton, QC and Tommy Sheridan. Numerous meetings are being held in rural Argyll- Taynuilt, Appin, Seil – with encouraging audiences and keen questioning.
    It would be good to be able to say that the BT cause was being promoted with equal vigour but I am not aware of any public meetings held or scheduled.

  5. BT are nowhere to be seen, especually in working class area for that is where the vote will be won and lost, especially if the proletariat turn out. Unscientific polls in places like Clydebank, Drumchapel and Easterhouse are giving the yes vote a huge lead

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