The last few months at Common Weal have been incredibly busy. With so much happening, we wanted to give you an overview of some of the things we have been up to. From the big currency debates, through to policy podcasts, speaking at meetings across the country (and Europe) and our diet of trailblazing policy papers - we are taking our operation to the next level.
We have some exciting plans lined up for the second half of 2019, and we think you are going to be just as enthused about them as we are. In particular we are looking forward to the launch of a fully costed plan for a Green New Deal in Scotland. We live in times of deep uncertainty. At such times it is absolutely vital that organisations like Common Weal are firing on all cylinders, and working hard to deliver vision, hope and inspiration.
With your backing we can amplify the work that we are doing to ensure that there is a voice that puts all of us first at the heart of Scottish politics. Read on for a review of some of our recent activities. And remember that none if it is possible without your support.
We launched a major policy paper representing the culmination of all of our work to date. The paper, An investment-Led Economic Development Framework For An Independent Scotland argues that the economy should serve society, not the other way around, and that the success of an economy should not be measured merely in terms of its size or its rate of growth.
The UK's model of economic development is based on a unproductive sectors which generate vast profits through four particular methods - financial speculation, asset value inflation, debt-fuelled consumption, and concentration and monopoly.
This report shpws that Scotland, if independent, could improve its performance across 12 key pillars of its economy.
It then explores 18 alternative economic theories - beyond limited approaches focused on GDP growth and from there creates a package of 10 actions which would move an independent Scotland towards an investment-led economy including laying down the foundations of a Green New Deal proposal.
The full paper can be downloaded here.
Common Weal’s Energy Policy Working Group released a new policy paper: Just Warmth. Authors Dr Keith Baker and Dr Ron Mould have made the case for Scotland to reform the way that heat is produced and delivered in Scotland through a network District Heating Systems (DHS).
The Scottish Government has, to date, failed to learn from the evidence of other countries which have successfully developed DHS and heat networks – Denmark particularly stands out in this regard with the deployment of multi-technology approaches involving solar thermal, sustainable biomass, heat recovery systems and inter-seasonal heat storage. These technologies much become the central theme to the future development of DHS in Scotland.
The development of local, sustainable biomass supply chains will present opportunities to leverage direct and in-direct for job creation, recreation, tourism and enhanced biodiversity. Reform of Scotland’s grouse moors – the subject of a previous Common Weal policy paper – presents an ideal opportunity in this regard.
The full paper can be downloaded here.
The Common Weal paper 'Scotlands Data Desert: The Case For A Scottish Statistics Agency' layed out some of the important gaps identified in Scotland's suite of gathered statistics. The case is made for the formation of a Scottish Statistics Agency, funded to a level comparable to nations similar to Scotland, which has the power to fill these gaps as well as to curate a comprehensive and transparent database of statistics for public use. We were delighted that the SNP conference adopted the proposal.
Common Weal Head of Policy, Craig Dalzell said:
"To say that I’m pleased that the arguments for an SSA have been adopted by the SNP is an understatement – and not just because it is based on my own work and the work of Common Weal to promote the idea. Better data will serve Scotland well in the coming years in a multitude of ways ranging from better policy, through better monitoring down to more informed debates about the state of our country and its future potential.
"I look forward to working with the Scottish Government as the consultations on the shape of the SSA are developed. As with our other major policy successes such as the Scottish National Investment Bank and Scottish National Infrastructure Company, Common Weal stands ready to help the Scottish Statistics Agency develop and begin to serve the people of Scotland and elsewhere."
Financial Services expert Peter Ryan returned to Common Weal with his latest policy paper advocating for a not-for-profit payments system to be rolled out across Scottish local authorities.
Whilst this policy idea is possible under the current powers of devolution and is a worthy idea in and of itself, the prospect of a national payments infrastructure opens up the possibility of positive consequences for Scottish independence and the launch of a prospective Scottish currency. If the payments infrastructure is already in place and operational by the time of independence (or even by the time of an independence referendum) then it would greatly simplfy the task of adapting digital payments systems to cope with the new currency.
You can download the paper in full here.
The second part of the report 'The Road To A Scottish Currency' can be found here.
We were pleased to launch our new website - which we hope you are enjoying. if you have not checked it out yet, we've got a new Policy Library, a focus on the Big Ideas we fight and campaign for, a specific place for Local Groups to keep us updated of local events and campaigns, and we're really excited to have a Do Something page because we have so many supporters who ask us constantly how they can get involved. The Big Ideas section collects all of our policies by theme. There you'll find, for example, all of our papers on Scottish Independence, currency, energy
Our Policy Library is our main archive. Every policy paper we've ever published is stored here with the latest papers at the top.
We also have regular Podcasts such as our weekly Common Weal Policy Podcast where you can listen to the team discussing our work.
We have achieved so much, but we are only as strong as our support base. If you want to join the fight in creating a better future do something about it by checking out our Do Something page. The most powerful thing you can do today is Become a Sustaining Supporter of Common Weal with a regular donation. You can also attend events by checking out our Events Calendar, you can Volunteer in a range of different areas, Join a Local Group or Set Up Your Own and more. Keep an eye on this page. It will grow over the next few months.
Our policy podcasting is building up nicely, as we take a look at the latest Common Weal reports, as well as looking back at policy papers from our library. we want to make policy as accessible as possible - so please do send us your ideas and feedback.
The Policy Podcast would like to discuss all of Common Weal's policy papers in detail over the next several months so if there are any papers that you would like to see covered sooner rather than later, send your suggestions in to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can listen to all our podcasts to date here.