Policy to the people: Common Weal launches Scottish tour to boost local campaigning

The group will stop in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Skye and others to talk strategy and policy with local groups

THE pro-independence Common Weal think-tank will embark on a Scotland-wide tour this summer in a bid to spread its policy agenda via its network of local groups.

The tour will hold sessions in Glasgow, Ayr, Edinburgh and other places around the country to develop a campaigning strategy for each group in order to maximise its potential local impact.

A self described “think and do tank”, Common Weal produces policy ideas and actively campaigns for the adoption of its policies. The think-tank is supported by a network of around 50 local groups, which the organisation believes are a key part of distributing policy ideas and gathering support around the country due to their knowledge of local areas.

“Our local groups are a vital aspect of our national campaign as no-one knows their local areas like they do.” Craig Dalzell, Common Weal

The idea of a loose, member-written constitution will also be floated at the meetings, following on from research produced by Anarchy Rules.

The think-tank was formed during the Scottish independence campaign after a pilot project by the Jimmy Reid Foundation. It has policy and campaigning units alongside its local group network, and it funds CommonSpace, although the news site operates independently of Common Weal.

Common Weal head of research Craig Dalzell, who will be in attendance, said of the tour: “The central motto of Common Weal is ‘all of us first’. This isn't just a statement about addressing the inequalities and injustices in our society but speaks to who are best able to help do it.”

“Our local groups are a vital aspect of our national campaign as no-one knows their local areas like they do.

“It is their successes that we are celebrating with this tour and I am greatly looking forward to meeting them, discussing their ideas and finding ways to help spread them to other groups to follow.”

The tour kicks off on Saturday 22 July at Yes Bar in Glasgow, before moving on to Ayr the next day, then Dunoon Burgh Hall on Tuesday 25th and finishing in Skye the next day.

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Other events will be held in Dundee on 7 August and Fife on 30 August, as well as in Edinburgh, although the exact date is yet to be announced.

Along with Dr Dalzell, campaigns officer Max Wiszniewski, graphic designer Fiona Hunter, operations manager Tiffany Kane and special events manager Phil Connor will also be in attendance.

Wiszniewski said: “Local Common Weal groups have been inspirational in the few years since we began. With new and relaunched groups coming together across the country, there's a renewed potential for real citizen-led change and this fits the ethos of Common Weal perfectly.”

South Ayrshire Common Weal member Stuart Bates spoke of why he wanted to form a Common Weal local group, saying: “After the 2014 referendum many of us didn't want to stop talking about Scotland and the possible future for us and generations to come so we organised public meetings with knowledgeable speakers and found a ready, enthusiastic audience.

”We have started the process of moving from thinking to doing, which the Common Weal embodies.”

Operations Manager Tiffany Kane described local Common Weal members as “some of the most inspiring, knowledgeable, tenacious folk I’ve ever met”, lauding the shared belief in the ideas that “can truly transform our communities”.

For more information, please go to the event page on Facebook.

Picture courtesy of Common Weal

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