The on-going battles between a few well-known ‘Yes’ figures and groupings seem to confirm we are heading down a very worn path. One which bears little resemblance to the participation and persuasion of Yes in 2014. By the look of things it’s a route that’s very familiar in the US and a current favourite of Mr Corbyn’s team.
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.
More on possible practicalities shortly.
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