This evening’s agenda was packed to the gunnels with progress updates, filming for the voxpop and planning for future events. We were also pleased to welcome Gillis and Kevin from Common Weal Angus who we are keen to work with in the future.
The anticipated highlight for the evening was a visit from Miriam Brett, who was going to answer our questions about the Red Lines Campaign. Unfortunately, Miriam had to cancel due to illness but the discussion around the campaign went ahead under a new focus that saw the current five Red Lines analysed, evaluated, critiqued and, at some tables, completely redrafted. There was very passionate conversation about the language of the campaign and how it appears to embrace the current political paradigms. A fine example was when “Fix Westminster” was replaced with “Ignore Westminster.” This was countered by a more sober acknowledgement that, at least for the time being, we need to operate within the existing structures, so we must use the existing language and procedures to make progress. On a more personal note, being part of such lively and intelligent political exchange is heart-warming, energising and good for the soul – I highly recommend it. We will feed back to Common Weal HQ with some relevant and useful data.
Next was an update on the progress made in our search for a venue for our Common. There is a site that looks promising and there was some consensus in the group that it would be a good spot to hang our hats but we are cautious that we will also need to scope out other accommodation so we can be as inclusive as possible with our meetings. The feeling in the group is that we will have a range of activities: regular book clubs; crafts evenings; visiting speakers; skills swaps and a free rein for unedited political chat and purposeful social interaction. It was pointed out that we still have a lack of young members and we discussed some outreach work as a strategy to rectify that, among other things.
The overwhelming mood in the room was the group’s passion to put their feelings into action – members are champing at the bit to make a contribution and the upcoming Gala Day will provide an opportunity to do just that. Planned for late May/ early June at a provisional venue of St Bryce Kirk in Kirkcaldy, the loose running order will include: big name speakers, local activists, a range of stalls, the screening of a film and live music later in the evening. The day will also include childcare facilities and hospitality. The sale of tickets for an event of this size is inevitable to cover costs and we will offer concession to those on lower incomes. Planning and running this event will require the skills and efforts of all our members so don’t be shy with your talents! We have a lot of input about what to include already and some great advice from the Angus visitors about promoting diversity but please keep those ideas coming by email or on social networks. Also, keep checking Facebook and Twitter for dates for your diary – the next Common Weal Fife meeting will be on Thursday 12th March.
We closed the night with a poetry reading from the hilarious Tom Hubbard. I don’t have a copy of Tom’s poems from tonight to share but I feel justified in offering this advice – if ye ever fund yirsel loast in Kinglassie, be gie careful wha’s door ye chap oan fir directions!