The Plan to Have a Plan
Obama, Clinton, plenty of unionists and the Corbynites are among those who favour an approach to politics and activism influenced by a book called Rules for Radicals - written by Alinksy. The Rules set out a top-down, single issue, confrontational and, I guess, attention-seeking approach to gaining political concessions. (As a result of combining with a genuine grassroots in 2014 to deliver campaigning based on winning people over, the SNP are a notable exception in terms of trying to steer away from Alinksy’s now dated approach).
The practical Yes-flavoured alternative to ‘the Rules’ seems to be to learn from Yes in 2014 and to avoid years of political battling and going round in circles. The way to go about that likely means lining up the core issues, the outcomes we are after and the methods of reasonable, if forthright, persuasion in advance.
Doing so does not involve forming a small industry to endlessly debate along the way - you’re bound to lose direction and drift. It probably does involve planning properly and reaching as broad a consensus as possible before setting off. Where there are disagreements surely it’s best for Scotland we know now and adopt negotiated boundaries to deal with that.
The rough approach that seems to follow from this involves:
- A statement/ declaration of principles, outcomes and methods for delivering those outcomes. - The option of an affiliation/ connect to those principles, outcomes and methods for multiple groups small and large. - A non-political connective office and advisory function to enable collaboration between standalone and overlapping Yes satellites. E.g. Yes SNP; Yes Registry, Butterfly Rebellion, Commonspace, Autonomy Scotland, Constitutional Convention, . . . - An accessible, moderated, (and potentially broadly elective), consultative forum for pooling skill sets, political experience and grassroots participation.
2. Fixing Yes
Following up from the last post on options for getting Yes back on a positive, productive and good-natured footing. The list of possible principles below is slightly adjusted from the recent post on independence - and not exhaustive. While the four steps outlined in yesterday's post are carried forward and each point expanded upon.
- A 'DECLARATION' OF 'YES' PRINCIPLES, OUTCOMES AND METHODS FOR DELIVERING THOSE OUTCOMES.
Health - Finance - Culture And Learning - Debt - Defence - Democracy - Energy Security - Fascism - Security - 'Squeezing the Rich' aka Social Justice
- HEALTH AND INDEPENDENCE
The Westminster Government has routinely demonstrated it's disregard for the will of the people of Scotland on the deliver and maintenance of universal healthcare. Scottish citizens cannot reasonably be expected to pay the costs of ideologically driven austerity.
Scotland should continue to have universal healthcare, which is funded publicly and distributed according to clinical priorities.
A healthy society where all citizens have access to prompt, effective healthcare free at the point of service. Raising and applying widespread awareness of the practical benefits of medical science.
A respected medical and medical support profession where staff are not constantly exhausted, but are in a position to take advantage of rapid developments in medical technologies.
Promote diet in early years and deliver the skills to eat well and fast to teens.
Make clattering the odd window with a football OK again and in schools offer sports where you're not forever waiting for your turn arrive.
Identify opportunities for early interventions and preventative care.
Invest in piloting and research to quickly evaluate and establish health initiatives.
Deliver the skills, community and sense of belonging, which need to be bundled to support those vulnerable to mental health concerns before pressures build up.
Campaign peacefully, but directly, for both universal healthcare and the underlying change required to allow that to happen within financial constraints.
- AN AFFILIATION/ CONNECT TO THOSE PRINCIPLES, OUTCOMES AND METHODS FOR MULTIPLE GROUPS SMALL AND LARGE.
A Yes Code on presenting Scotland and Yes in a forthright but positive light. If a group of some type wishes to go with backing the Declaration above, but not agree to a code they're not excluded, but Yes Declaration only. If a group wishes to go with both they'd be Yes Declaration and Yes Code. Basic boundaries for keeping it reasonable on social media, msm and face-to-face, which most involved in a peaceful, positive campaign would be likely to have few problems with.
- A NON-POLITICAL CONNECTIVE OFFICE AND ADVISORY FUNCTION TO ENABLE COLLABORATION BETWEEN STANDALONE AND OVERLAPPING YES SATELLITES.
There are lots of contributors to Yes out there, including a raft of 'alt media' outlets; some very experienced politicians without seats; and a few organisations with the capacity to deliver large scale print and digital media presentations. Administrative and advisory functions really have no need to be largely politicised if Yes is focused around an issues-based step-by-step plan.
Realistically the SNP have a considerable say in how slick and tech this type of support could be, as they have already gathered a fairly sizable fund specifically for a referendum campaign. Like it or lump it they will channel that as SNP members wish. However, a less top-down, more horizontal structure allied to a Declaration of areas of broad consensus offers a platform for stepping across, or around, political differences - by placing a consensus within Yes in front of political dramas.
- AN ACCESSIBLE, MODERATED, (AND POTENTIALLY BROADLY ELECTIVE), CONSULTATIVE FORUM FOR POOLING SKILL SETS, POLITICAL EXPERIENCE AND GRASSROOTS PARTICIPATION.
A positive, constructive Yes, which focuses on the core planks of the case for independence, can be anchored in describing the case in terms of both WM's treatment of Scotland as a resource colony and through presenting the more productive future on offer through independence.
It looks likely if we skip on either approach, or fail to connect them up, Yes becomes predominantly political - all stick and no carrot in terms of yesterday's discussion of Alinksy's pitfalls.
If building in balance is what we're after, then a firm representative platform seems called for. A declaration of general principles isn't a bill or a clause by clause constitution, so compiling submissions and working them up collectively online could get a lot of the outlining done. From there why not make a day of it, have gatherings and sign such 'guidelines' off to embed a constructive, familial and collegiate Yes.
Where then - routinely bringing the office, advisory and Yes groups together offers a lead for an annual or biannual review. They could present proposed necessary adjustments and take account of events by re-running the same type of initial distributed consultation - which could be firmed up at a suitable annual or biannual gathering.
Just how elective v's collegiate . . . who gets to vote. I honestly believe sensible guidelines, a Declaration and Code or such like, could find so much basic common ground within Yes on many of the list of issues shown here that a vote would hardly be necessary. If not then a broad approach to representation seems essential to validate any decisions.
3. Declarations and Codes
More on practical options for a hopefully lively, diverse #Scotref campaign shortly, but recent events seem to highlight the need to put in place a coherent plan, which can accommodate some significant differences of opinion. By that I do not mean the current media trend for using the methods of Project Fear to present a message along the lines of - I say, you revolutionaries over there, would you mind turning it down a bit? So far the proposed ‘shape’ includes an overarching Yes Declaration and a Yes Code, as outlined earlier. Anyone can be or claim to be a Yes supporter and it would be about impossible to even try to ‘check’ on everyone. As a result, a Declaration offers a shared agenda, which groups or individuals can choose to connect to if they wish to and use to demonstrate the contributions they make around the shared agenda. A code concerns separating out differences of political or civic opinion, which spill over into negative campaigning.
People, pages, blogs, organisations and media wishing to be agree to follow a short collection of reasonable boundaries can identify with the suggested Yes Code and again demonstrate they are sticking to that by keeping within the agreed boundaries. For example: Fold reasonable boundaries into group rules, About sections and print media. Let off steam, but don’t let that stray into abuse and running conflicts. Actively seek to avoid escalating any dispute and propose resolution. Keep clear of any association with or promotion of violence across all media. Not exactly rocket science nor the Spanish Inquisition, but it does appear key understandings common across many Yes forums/ groups need to be clearly stated for the few folk who get a bit carried away at times.
Overall, if you’re a blogger or alt media publisher it becomes a simple choice. Align or identify with Yes in terms of the principles if you like; then decide just how eh gritty you want to be before optioning in or out of the Code. No one gets chuckled out of anything under this arrangement, but anyone opting for the Code who then disregards it is likely to lose credibility among Yes supporters. Perhaps elsewhere too. Under such circumstances someone with a complaint can know who to call out, which Yes ‘Satellite’ to go to and immediately suggest the remedy of keeping in line with the self-regulation that’s available. The Declaration and those broadly within the Code are out of the loop and doing so allows any abuse to actually be tackled instead of becoming a sort of political pass the parcel.
With a system of self-regulation in place before heading off, questions of organisation and representation seem to become easier to consider. Returning to the last post: ‘Bringing the office, advisory and Yes groups together offers a lead for an annual or biannual review . . . which could be firmed up at a suitable annual or biannual gathering.’ The skills and functions of, for example, Yes Registry, AUOB, the Black Group, the Constitutional Convention, Bella Caledonia, . . . can then share information via a non-political office function. If Yes SNP or Yes Greens then wished to use a similar Code based approach as part of vetting the funding of say Yes activities they could among other steps say - can you show us your media/ content is good with the Code or at least indicate how you plan to fit any activity within those kind of boundaries?
The Declaration and Code approach might from there apply to representative assemblies where Satellites could vote as a whole while re-affirming their intention to work towards the Declaration’s outcomes and to do so within the boundaries of the Code on the day.
4. Summary and Update
• A declaration of shared Yes principles:
1. Why WM do not govern in the interests of Scotland’s people.
2. What an independent Scotland can offer instead.
3. How we would fit in alongside other prosperous, smaller nations.
• An opt-in, self-regulating code of good practice.
• Yes groups can identify with the declaration and/ or code.
• Co-ordinate via Yes focused office and information/ advisory services.
• Digital consultations on the declaration and code.
• Manageable widespread representation through Yes political party membership.
• Annual reviews/ updating of principles and code.
Hmm . . . OK that doesn't give me a say, as I'm not in a political party, but it does enable mass representation among Yes supporters :)
And should allow lots of different rails to run side-by-side, instead of forming a pile-up on one congested set of rails.
If you can help out by backing the project, any funds are solely for the 500 Pages project and suggestions on what you'd like to see getting done are most welcome. The list of completed pages is here.