The Common Weal Project was based on a range of policy papers commissioned and published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation and was part of the Foundation. These policy papers detail progressive policies which, if implemented, could help to create a fairer, more prosperous Scotland no matter the outcome of the Referendum. The Foundation does not take a position on how people should vote on 18th September 2014.
The Common Weal vision has gained thousands of supporters in a few months as witnessed by the 700 plus people of all age groups who turned up for the Festival in Glasgow on 6 July. Many of these supporters wish to see the Common Weal expand its objectives and activities. As The Foundation was set up primarily as a think tank and to energise activity, the Foundation has undertaken a discussion on the Common Weal Project’s future and its relationship with the Foundation. As result the Common Weal has now established itself as a separate, self-standing organisation. Robin McAlpine has resigned as Foundation Director and is now Director of the Common Weal. You can access its website here or at www.allofusfirst.org . All Common weal papers to August 2014 will remain available on the Foundation website.
The Foundation wishes the Common Weal well for the future and will seek to co-operate on issues of mutual interest. Many Foundation supporters also support the Common Weal and it is hoped this can continue.
Scottish Left Review Magazine
The July/August issue will be merged with the next issue, No 83, which will be a post Referendum special edition. Thereafter publication will return to the bi-monthly cycle.
The Common Weal book brings together all the ideas of the Common Weal Project into one easily accessible short book. You can buy the book at the Common Weal website.
We re-print below the Prologue which explains how and why the Common Weal book came together:
Scotland’s people are in a unique position – we have been invited to imagine our nation afresh. So let’s do it. Let us ask what our country would look like if we were to design it now. Twelve months ago this is what the Jimmy Reid Foundation did. It began work that became known as the ‘Common Weal project’. It started with simple aims – let’s think about what we want to achieve, let’s look around the world to see who has achieved it, let’s examine how they achieved it and let’s learn the lessons and apply them to 21st Century Scotland.
As the project got under way person after person, team after team came forward offering their expertise. In those twelve months the project snowballed. It now consists of over 50 major policy reports by scores of authors on everything from tax and banking to arts and food to industry and work to democracy and land. Together they build up a carefully-constructed, heavily-researched, well-referenced and compellingly-argued case for the transformation of Scotland. This is arguably the single biggest reimagining of a nation state in modern history.
But who can read 50 academic reports? Common Weal is about creating a politics and a society which once again puts citizens at its heart, so if it excluded them on the basis of complexity and jargon it would be hypocritical. A politics that can change Scotland can only be a politics that includes everyone.
So in these pages is an attempt to bring together the content of 50 major reports as a single programme for action. But with self-imposed rules – no jargon, no bullet-points, no footnotes, no graphs and charts, no italics, no language that could not be understood by any school-leaver. If you want these things they are in the reports; these pages are almost in an oral tradition, a story that takes us from the nation we are to the nation we can be.
Of course, in all these many pages of policy work there will be ideas and proposals that not everyone will precisely agree with and there will be other issues people feel are missing or insufficiently covered. But they do offer a consistent approach, a coherent philosophy – and a genuine path to a different future.
All of this takes place in the context of a debate about whether Scotland should become an independent country. This is not meant to be a case for or a case against independence but only a case for a better Scotland. Many of the authors involved believe that change can only come if Scotland takes the powers in its own hands – but some do not. What unites everyone who has been involved in this project is the belief that this must be an agenda for Scotland’s future no matter what the outcome of the referendum.
Scotland cannot go back to accepting the nation it is just now. Inequality, poverty, declining infrastructure, powerless communities, closed politics, profiteering, low pay, overwork, anxiety, stress and unhappiness – it is time to end the myth that we will ever defeat these problems unless we act decisively.
What’s stopping us? It’s certainly neither the desire for change nor the wealth and resources needed to make that change. Until now the biggest barrier has been confidence – we have been trained to believe that no alternative is possible, that achieving a decent society is just too damn complicated, so best not to try.
In these pages you will see that change isn’t complicated, it just requires will and hard work. The idea that in Scotland there just isn’t the savvy to drag ourselves up is nonsense. The idea that it can’t be done is disproved by all the other nations who have done it. And the clever-clever arguments that suggest there is something about Scotland that means we can’t do what they did? You can choose to believe them, but you will need to resign yourself to failure and decline.
By the time you reach the last of these pages you will know exactly how Scotland can be changed. You will have the knowledge to explain how it can be done. You will have the confidence that everything in these pages has been tried somewhere and shown to work. You will be able to explain how it can be paid for. Hopefully you will have the confidence to believe this can be our future.
What will happen next? No-one knows. But all across Scotland people are waking up. They are rubbing their eyes, remembering that this is their country and becoming angry at what it has become. If they too can have the knowledge of how we can change and the confidence that we can do it, for how much longer can the elite run our lives without our consent? The elite may spend their wealth persuading us that this is as good as it gets. Thankfully, democracy is more powerful again than they are.
We – the people of Scotland – have the power to build a Common Weal Scotland. First, let’s look at how we can do it.
All of the reports can be found at www.reidfoundation.org and on allofusfirst.org where there is ongoing discussion of Common Weal.
Issue 82 of the Scottish Left Review looks at what a Common Weal Scotland might look like. Recent significant losses on the left in Scotland are recognised, and Neil Findlay MSP looks at why he thinks Labour’s devolution proposal is what Scotland needs. Jackson Cullinane furthers the debate in responding to a Reid Foundation report on industrial democracy, and Gerry Mooney gives us insight into why he believes independence is our real chance for change. Click here to read SLR 82.
Scotland is awash with potential. What will that future look like and what role will we play within the emerging Nordic and Arctic regions?
“An Atlas Of Productivity” Is the first dedicated atlas of Scotland since the 19th century and perhaps the first ‘atlas of productivity’ anywhere in the world. The atlas maps not just Scotland’s landscape and towns and cities but seeks to map as many of the aspects of national productivity as possible. Over 35 maps we see everything from Scotland’s land ownership and its wind speeds to its transport links and its relationship to the emerging Arctic trading routes. The aim of the atlas is to get Scots to look afresh at the potential of their nation based on its position and its natural resources.
The Atlas was created by Lateral North, an architecture and design consultancy. It is being published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation as part of its Common Weal project with the aim of demonstrating how a productive, manufacturing economy can be based on natural resources and geostrategic position.
BUY YOUR COPY AT THE COMMON WEAL WEBSITE: ALLOFUSFIRST.ORG
Scottish Left Review and the Jimmy Reid Foundation invite you to a gala afternoon of Lefty stand-up in Glasgow, May 3rd, the Stand Comedy Club, 333 Woodlands Road, from 4pm onwards.
Join us for a star-studded line-up including Bruce Morton, Susie McCabe, Gary Little, Vladimir McTavish and Elaine C Smith, and help us to fundraise at the same time – smashing!
To book tickets, click here
Join the facebook group and invite friends here.
Also in this issue:
2014 Matters: Energy, Environment & Climate Change
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 from 19:30 to 21:00 (GMT)
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Left to right: Willie Rennie MSP (Leader, Scottish Liberal Democrats), Sarah Boyack MSP (Scottish Labour, former Scottish Environment Minister), Patrick Harvie MSP (Co-convenor, Scottish Greens), Paul Wheelhouse MSP (Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Scottish Government and SNP), Judith Robertson (Director, SeeMe, Chair).
Many energy, environmental and climate change problems are global problems that need not only local solutions, but also concerted global action. How can Scotland play its part in helping to tackle these issues, as part of a union, or as an independent country?
Does Scotland have all the levers it needs to become a low carbon, sustainable country, where people have access to good quality public transport, cycle and walk places, eat well, live in healthy environments and use clean, secure energy? Does Scotland use the levers it has already to make this a reality?
Join the debate with representatives from both sides of the referendum campaign, because 2014 matters.
2014 Matters: Scotland’s Place in Building a Just World
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 from 18:30 to 21:00 (BST)
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Jim Murphy MP, Humza Yousaf MSP
In 2014 Scotland will vote on whether or not to become an independent country. What impact will this have on building a just world and how can all parts of government work to support this aim?
Join Jim Murphy MP, UK Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, and Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for External Affairs and International Development, and guests for a discussion bringing together our series on Scotland’s Future and making a positive difference in the world.
Please note the start time is not confirmed but will be sent to all registered as soon as available.
- This event forms part of the 2014 Matters programme exploring global justice and Scotland’s future in the context of the referendum. Further events will be taking place across the country. To submit your questions and find out more visit www.2014-matters.org.
This event is supported by People & Planet, NIDOS, Jubilee Scotland, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, WWF, the World Development Movement and Friends of the Earth Scotland. It is hosted by Jubilee Scotland.
7 pm Wednesday 12 March – Glasgow CND meeting, 77 Southpark Avenue (side of Wellington Church), Glasgow, G12 8LE. Planning for Spring Walk (1-7 April) and Glasgow march and rally (5 April) – see below.
6 – 9 pm Wednesday 12 March – Leafleting outside Cineworld, 7 Renfrew St, with leaflets on how a Yes vote can lead to nuclear disarmament. With assistance from volunteers from the Radical Independence Campaign. If you can help, come along for when ever you can manage. Phone Steven Griffiths 07842 136555 or John Ainslie 07442 500476, or email email@example.com
7.30 pm Thursday 13 March – Pub Quiz, Coopers, 499 Great Western Road. Organised by Glasgow Uni CND. Fun with quiz, videas and prizes. All welcome.
Spring Walk – Over 30 people are walking from the Scottish Parliament to Faslane on 1-7 April. Join in or find out more – http://springwalk.org
A Nuclear Free Scotland is possible – 11 am 5 April George Sq, Glasgow. March and rally. Speakers- Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie, Lesley Riddoch, Lord Provost Sadie Doherty, Dave Moxham (STUC), Sally Foster-Fulton (Church of Scotland). This is part of the Spring Walk. Please help to publicise this by ordering leaflets and posters from the Scottish CND office (0141 357 1529), or contact Alan Mackinnon (07966 189101)
A weekend of politics, culture and ideas …. And fun!
Friday March 28th-Sunday March 30th
The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool
WHO HAS POWER IN MODERN SCOTLAND?
In association with the Reid Foundation
Friday March 28th
Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart
Scotland after the Crash: The Collapse of RBS
Ian Fraser, author, forthcoming ‘Shredded: The Rise and Fall of RBS’
Saturday March 29th
What would imagining a different Scotland look like?
Creative activism, imagination and change facilitated by Joe Lafferty
Social Class, Social Justice and the Issue of Education
Gerry Hassan, author, forthcoming ‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’ and Eileen Reid, commentator and writer
The Shape of Inequality, Housing, Place and Power
Ailsa MacKay, Glasgow Caledonian University and Douglas Robertson, Stirling University
What is Missing from the Scottish Debate?
David Donnison, former Professor of Urban Studies, Glasgow University; author of ‘The Politics of Poverty’ and ‘Speaking to Power’
Radical Scotland? Common Weal and the New Radicals
Cat Boyd, trade union activist, Robin McAlpine, Reid Foundation, Bronagh Gallagher, member, Reid Foundation Commission on Democracy, Jean Urquhart, MSP, Jamie Maxwell, writer and journalist, ‘New Statesman’
The Power of Business Interest Scotland
Craig Harrow, MHP Scotland
What do we do about ideology and Britain?
James Foley, Radical Independence Conference and Jamie Maxwell
What do we do about the Media?
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish Organiser
For Bookings, Tickets and Accomodation:
Please Phone The Ceilidh Place Reception: 01854-612103
Cite ‘Changin Scotland’
Weekend Prices: £60 for all weekend events.
Accomodation Booking available from The Ceilidh Place Reception