First off, sorry we didn’t post anything up yesterday – as I’m sure a lot of you are aware, although SiMY as an organisation had tried to stay neutral and simply encourage you to take part in the process, most of the SiMY team had decided to vote yes in the referendum and we were feeling a wee bit gutted about the result.
Looking at people’s posts on Facebook, two things are evident; firstly, that lots of you who were old enough registered to vote, made yourselves aware of the issues, looked at the evidence, tried to understand the complex economic and social arguments and come to the best decision you could for your country. As a team, we’re incredibly proud of you for the energy and passion you brought to that – so much so that I’m still a bit choked up just thinking about it (I’m a big softie at heart really!)
The second thing that’s obvious from Facebook is that a lot of people are massively disappointed with the result, frustrated with the feeling that things are just going to stay the same, and angry about the horrendous scenes in Glasgow on Friday night. We want you to know that we share all those feelings with you.
The question you might be asking now is: “what are we going to do about it?”
Good question! Perhaps it’s just a weird co-incidence, but given we’ve just had to move home, we seemed to be faced with a situation where we have the chance to ‘re-invent’ what we do at SiMY at a perfect time to respond to the changes taking place more widely in Scotland. Our new building has a lot of advantages over the old one – it’s got better heating for one thing, but it’s smaller, so we can’t simply run the same programme that we did before.
What the new programme looks like really depends a lot on you guys – if you want to stay involved with the process of making Scotland a better place for us all to live, then we have the people at SiMY who can help you to do that. Several of us have experience of being involved in taking action to improve communities and addressing the concerns that people have. As well as ‘local politics’, we can also help you get involved in issues that affect us as a nation, so that you can influence events at that level.
You guys have already helped to make a difference – just look back a week and see the way that the UK Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to make all sorts of promises to try and convince people to vote no. We can work together to make sure that he keeps those promises – it won’t make Scotland independent, but it might make it a better, fairer place for us all to live, and we may find that we help do the same in the rest of the UK, which in many ways would be a bigger, better result than we set out to achieve in the first place.
Starting from next week, we’re going to make some time to open up the new building at 200 Kennedy Street so that you can come in, grab a brew, and have a chat about how things have gone. Once we have an idea about how people are feeling, we’ll come up with some suggestions about what we can do together to try and make our dreams for Scotland turn into reality. It will be hard work, this probably won’t be the last disappointment we face together, but history shows that good people working together can make massive changes happen!