More reasons to attend the YES Perth City Supports’ meeting, 17.02.2019, 2 pm – 4:30 pm, Salutation Hotel.

The following is a reprint of a Yes Perth City communication.

Nicola Sturgeon has had a busy week, with a visit to the US during which she made a key speech on Brexit and independence at Georgetown University and became the first figurehead for a worldwide UN gender equality programme. It may be worth printing these two articles and making sure any undecided friends or relatives get to see them, because if they rely on Reporting Scotland for their news they probably won’t be aware that the First Minister even left the country.

They’ll have been treated to rehashes of ScotRail’s performance issues over Christmas, a recurring impression that everything to do with Scotland’s hospitals is somehow problematic and a ringside seat at the ‘row’ at Holyrood over car parking charges. If they’re alert, they may have noticed that it was John Swinney putting Jackson Carlaw to the sword at First Minister’s Questions, and wondered why. Political Correspondent Brian Taylor answered that one by saying that the First Minister was ‘away’, but neglected to say where; for all anyone knew, she might as well have been at the dentist.

We might say that this sort of omission is par for the course, and it is, although to let it go at that tends to ‘normalise’ the BBC’s shabby behaviour, a reaction that the corporation is no doubt counting on. However, the real horror show of the week came on Thursday, with the visit by Question Time to a scarcely recognisable Motherwell. Any independence supporter lulled into a false sense of security by the programme’s relatively benign and even-handed effort in Perth last year was in for a rude awakening.

Question Time isn’t made directly by the BBC, of course, but produced on its behalf by Mentorn Media. That doesn’t relieve either party of the obligation, supposedly enshrined in the BBC Charter, of fairness. In this respect, as The National outlined on Friday, the show’s record leaves a fair bit to be desired. However, Thursday’s gruesome affair went well beyond that, to the point of openly rubbing our faces in it.

At the centre of the furore was one individual, a former UK candidate who appears to have achieved the statistically unlikely feat of not only appearing in a Scottish Question Time audience at least three times, but of being given the opportunity of an extended rant against the SNP and independence on each occasion. Human error or blatant audience-rigging? You’re welcome to make your own judgment, but, if you’re inclined to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt, please ask yourself: why do the human errors always seem to fall to one side’s disadvantage?

This sort of thing is incredibly frustrating to watch, particularly when it happens time and time again and the independence movement seems to be stuck in ‘wait and see’ mode. The answer is not simply to sit with steam coming out of our ears, but to renew our determination, not worrying about the things we can’t (yet) do, but focusing on what we can do.

We invite you to come to our Supporters’ Meeting at the Salutation Hotel on Sunday 17 February at 2:00 pm. There you’ll hear – and have the opportunity to contribute to – our plans for the coming months to make the voice of the Yes movement heard loud and clear in Perth. You’ll discover how your own skills, talents and energy can be used in many different ways to further that goal. You’ll be able to pick up information to use in those all-important conversations with undecided friends, family and colleagues. You’ll participate in discussions sharing ideas about how those undecided folk can best be persuaded.

And, crucially, you’ll learn more about the progress of one significant development: the project, of which Yes Perth City will be one of many sponsors, to create a Perth & Kinross Yes Hub in Perth City Centre – something we think will be a game-changer for the Yes movement in this area.

So join us, please, at the Salutation Hotel on the 17th. We expect it to be the start of something big, and we guarantee you’ll come away inspired and galvanised.

That’s all for this week, apart from our weekly ‘What’s On’ list, of course. There are lots of fascinating events coming up in the near future – and, as you’ll hear on the 17th, they’re just the tip of the iceberg!

Best wishes,

Yes Perth City Steering Group