The last few days, you might think, have been a simple case of battening down the hatches, listening to the wind howling outside and thanking our lucky stars that the Jet Stream has been anchored far enough south to spare us the absolute worst of the weather. But, while we’ve been huddled by the fireside, some of us nursing the nasty wee colds that have been circulating, events have been slowly moving forward.
In the political sphere, Jackson Carlaw – a random assembly of four syllables that could be taken in almost any other order and be just as meaningful – was promoted from ‘Mr Angry, standing in at FMQs’ to the elected voice of ‘Scottish Conservatism’. His elevation was accompanied by statements about doing things differently, not that his initial outings on Sunday Politics and elsewhere did much to bear that out. Interestingly, however, it also coincided with news items about some ‘senior Scottish Tories’ not being as dead set against Indyref2 as the recent General Election rhetoric would suggest. Time will tell, but for now we’d take those reports with a heavy shovelful of salt.
Meanwhile, the first reshuffle of the Boris Johnson administration proved more seismic than expected, with Sajid Javid unexpectedly resigning as Chancellor. It rapidly became clear that the reason was the PM’s requirement that he sack all his advisers so that Number 10 could replace them with its own apparatchiks. Neither this tightening control, nor Javid’s replacement by a 38-year-old former hedge fund manager possibly implicated in undermining the banks prior to the 2008 crash, is likely to be good news for the UK economy. Still, the episode did give us one good laugh, when Kate Forbes (just today appointed as new Finance Secretary at Holyrood) Tweeted to the Treasury’s new occupant Rishi Sunak “Need a hand with the Budget?”
Locally and across the wider Yes movement things are rapidly evolving, although the precise shape of the future is still anyone’s guess. All Under One Banner held an Assembly in Glasgow on Saturday not just to discuss this year’s Yes marches, but to make plans for future campaigning in general. (More about that in a future newsletter.) Representatives of the various Yes groups across Perth & Kinross are meeting before the end of the month to discuss opportunities for working together more effectively. And we’ve started work on individual training, with Destiny, the Perth & Kinross Yes Hub, hosting a Reframing and Awareness course, led by Sharon Trish and Iain MacEchern, last Thursday. The 13 participants seemed to find it very useful, and we hope it will be the first of several, although when we have the conversation exercises we’ll need to take care not to disturb the upstairs neighbours!
With the weather proving so dreadful, it’s been a quieter than usual few days in the Hub, although there are signs that non-supporters are beginning to cross the threshold in greater numbers. Many of them just want to give us a telling-off, of course, but there have been some genuine ‘seekers’ – and some good, challenging questions too.
With regard to the Hub, one of our biggest assets since it opened in September has been the strong support of volunteers giving their time to ensure there’s always a welcome there. That remains the case, but as the weather’s worsened and the inevitable winter bugs have afflicted some of the stalwarts it’s become apparent that the Hub could really do with a few more volunteers, to ensure we give those who are already part of the team an opportunity to recharge their batteries when they need to.
So if you feel you might be interested in giving a hand, do get in touch – either to us at or to the Hub’s own email address at . You’ll get all the training and advice you need and, even in the quieter moments, they’ll still be able to find plenty for you to do, creatively, educationally and otherwise.
As for coming attractions, there are plenty in the pipeline, as you’ll see from the latest edition of the What’s On list. We’d like particularly to draw your attention to two compelling events coming up in the next 10 days:
The visit by writer and illustrator Andrew Redmond Barr to the Hub on Saturday 22 February at 2:00 pm to discuss his book ‘The Illustrated Declaration of Arbroath’.
The talk by Alan Murdoch in the Murray Room, Salutation Hotel, on Thursday 27 February at 7:00 pm on the subject ‘Better Together? The Last 100 Years’.
Finally, one other piece of news. Tickets are now available for the Yes Perth City bus to the All Under One Banner march and rally in Arbroath on Saturday 4 April. We’ll depart from Broxden at 10:00 am, so as to be there in good time for the start of the march at 12 noon, and aim to return by approximately 5:30 pm. Return fare is £12.
That’s it for now. Have a good week and we’ll be back in touch soon.
Yes Perth City Steering Group