AUOB Assembly

Finally, the movement has moved

If it is a choice between imperfection and inaction: I will take the former every time!


At the start of the year, I wrote this post, after another article about some kind of a new YES body.

The article in The National stated: “Leading independence campaigners back new Yes Scotland group” 

And guess what. Nothing happened. Another false start.

Since January (and to be frank well before that) the idea has been blown about the movement, from pillar to post. From one place to the next.

A good idea, with a lot of support, including cross-party support.

Something that we pretty much all agree on. The YES movement needs some more structured support. We need a movement that is grassroots led. Let’s do it!!!!!!

Almost everyone agrees on this.

But what seems to have even more consensus, is that we should leave it to someone else.

Well, that ended in November when AUOB took up the challenge. They actually did something.

Something bold, brash, and gallus; something that every single one of the AUOB team knew they would get pelters for: they acted. 

Raising your head and your hand in many movements paints a target on your back. But they did it.

An assembly created online

The AUOB committee knew that if they wanted to create a body for the YES movement during COVID times, they would need to come out of the comfort zone.

So here we have a group of campaigners doing something that they KNEW they would take flack for, and also doing it in an environment that they weren’t comfortable with. 

These are street campaigners, not digital natives. But they knew that this had to be an online event: the platform was a virtual one, not one constructed out of wood and bricks.

So for some support, they approached the founder of the Virtual Events Campus and one of the leading authorities on virtual events to ask them to help. And I did.

In the same way, I have helped the National Yes Registry, Believe In Scotland, Voices for Scotland, Scottish CND and The Scottish Currency Group. I helped them to run an online event. 

And within a couple of weeks, AUOB organised an online event that had the declared aim of doing something. Not talking about it. Not writing about it. But doing something about it. 

A few weeks later a 15 person committee had been elected. Its task is to set up a national YES body. 

Once this is done, the individuals will, we assume, then resign, and seek reelection (or not) to positions on the new organisation.  

This is action. 

This is what we need to do. 

It is something that so many people in the movement have shied away from. 

AUOB put their shoulder to the wheel to get things going and those 15 committee members will graft away over the coming months to create something that will help us win independence. 

Finally, the movement, as a whole, is moving.

Imperfection or inaction? 

AUOB decided to move at speed to set this up. And in doing so they did a lot of difficult things very quickly. 

As someone who has set up several departments in big organisations, created several small businesses, and organised many events at short notice, you know you make a trade-off when you move at pace.

But with a BREXIT cliff edge approaching, a Scottish election on the horizon, and very possibly another referendum, how long should they have waited? 

A few more days to source a better free voting app, a few more weeks to fully engage with every campaigner, a few more months to coordinate and communicate with every other group?

Waiting isn’t an option anymore. And our other options are running out as well. 

When it comes to this grassroots YES organisation – we have two choices. 

One. We pick apart the process and “call out” the individuals on the holding committee for all the things they: are/have said/have done or who they read/have shared a platform with, or how much their house cost. Ripping it apart before it has even begun.

Or two. We acknowledge those who took action when many of us didn’t. We challenge it, we offer our help and advice.

And when it is fully formed we make our decision.

If you want a movement that is perfect, you will wait and wait until the years pass you by.  I for one and not that patient.

Let’s move. Now.

11 thoughts on “Finally, the movement has moved”

  1. I think an extra-parliamentary YES umbrella group is a fine idea, and AUOB have a great reputation for keeping Independence a live issue. I think the “provisional” name has to go though – apparently it’s already in use, and, anyway, 90% of Scots would mispronounce it! I’d suggest an online competition to come up with a name – although that does run the risk of having us being organised by Yessy McYesface!

  2. Or Three: change the name from the provisional YES ALBA (already in use by others) to another provisional name…

  3. I hope you’re correct.

    However, the situation that has developed could easily have been foreseen and avoided.

  4. Yet another organisation, if AUOB and others had not got unionists backs up, fibbing and breaking council rules, then some party members missbehaving then there might have been a chance to persuade others to change their views. The mess is soon to get worse so delay any changes until the dust has settled.

  5. You say no to “Ripping it apart before it has even begun” .

    But yes to “challenging it, offering it our help and advice”.

    But one man’s challenging and advice is another man’s ripping apart.

  6. I truly hope that the ‘provisional name’ will be disused after the furore caused. Also, ‘we challenge it, we offer our help and advice’ is exactly what was happening until AUOB responded the way they did! One man’s ‘challenge it’ is another man’s ‘ripping it apart *insert sad face*’.

    It’s important to get off on the right foot. So far? It hasn’t. I think distancing from AUOB instead of backing it up after its colossal error (which it then compounded by sharing an image of Scotland as ‘one Scotland’ with half the islands missing!) is the first thing to do here.

    1. “Yes Scotland” is a name that would be easy for international media (mainstream and non-mainstream) to find and follow. And international recognition of Scotland is going to be vital.

      1. I agree. I hope that a conversation with the SNP will at least take place. They own that as far as I am aware.

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