The Day We Went To Stirling

I’m going to an AGM!

Ok, not the most exciting thing that you might say to anyone but hey, this was a Salvo AGM and the most exciting AGM that I would ever go to!

It was in Stirling, so I boarded the bus from Edinburgh early on Sunday morning, clutching my AGM pass. Aye, I needed a ticket because the event was oversubscribed. Ok it was quite a small venue – it only seated 150 people – but still, the fact that it was oversubscribed meant that a lot more than 150 people were as excited as I was. Memo to Salvo – get a bigger venue for next year’s AGM.

Getting into the event early I helped around a bit, setting things up and the like, and I have to say it was pretty exciting; helping with the setup of computers while watching the hall fill with people. Couldn’t get the mics to work though, but hey, it was small hall. Shouldn’t really matter, right?

Looking around the hall there were faces I recognised from last year year’s AGM, but this year they came as our coordinators, treasurers, secretaries, and researchers. They were joined by those weel-kent faces you see at every event as we all waited for the event to begin. It was heady stuff, I tell you.

The morning’s event was devoted to business stuff, the most important item of which was agreeing Salvo’s constitution. And what a brilliant open conversation we had. Like, we had an issue over the term ‘political’. Should Salvo include it in their constitution or not? Well, there were plenty of people with opinions and the thing was, we had an open discussion. People spoke passionately from the floor, suggesting their amendments and speaking eloquently on why theirs should be carried. The solution that was carried was a suggestion from the floor and passed by a vote of the assembly.

The rest of the amendments to the constitution were voted through, as was the endorsement of the current Salvo Admin team to carry on in their present roles and postpone elections until next year. The reason for this was at this stage of the campaign, which would be an oh so crucial time to collect the 100k signatures for Liberation, that keeping the existing crew in place would be prudent, to say the least.

And everyone agreed. Though (and this reminded me of last year’s AGM) we couldn’t hear the chair. Poor Geoff Bush had a throat problem and couldn’t make himself heard because he didn’t have a microphone! Maybe we should crowd-fund Salvo to buy a microphone for next year’s AGM!

Next, it was on to Sara Salyers’ pitch on the year just gone. And just before lunch too. But no one was too bothered about their rumbling bellies, your correspondent included, as Sara’s pitch was, as usual, riveting.

And on to lunch. I mention it because I had a very enjoyable one with Craig Dempsey as he regaled us with tales from Westminster and his tormenting of Michael Gove. I can recommend Craig if you’re needing a half-hour lift of your spirits. We were joined by a lady from an adjoining table whose surname was very close to ‘Salvo’ and she wondered why we were having a meeting about her name. We put her straight and had a nice wee discussion. Whether she joined Salvo or not, I don’t know, but she should have!

And on to the afternoon session. We had three events to look forward to in the afternoon. The first was a film, introduced by Ian Lawson, about Estonia’s independence struggle from the Soviet Union and how they used song to galvanise people around their independence struggle. If you ever get the chance to see “The Singing Revolution” then do. And keep a wee box of hankies by your side. Even your correspondent had something in his eye as he watched.

Then, wham! On we went to Alistair MacKinnon. And didn’t he shake everyone with his pitch about the influence of the IMF an Wall Street over our own government’s policies. Alistair’s pitch started with the IMF and the tight grasp of their tentacles around the UK’s budget after the loans it gave the Labour government in the 70s. Then through the increasing power of global corporations to commodify and actually trade land on the stock exchange, then moving on to the part that particularly struck and has stuck with your correspondent – Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in 2015, after the SNP had swept the board in that year’s general election.

There is no second Scottish independent referendum on the immediate horizon, of course…”. There’s a context to that quote of course but who cares about context when an SNP leader even utters such words?

Just as well there was free coffee, for your correspondent needed one after that.

And so, on to the main show of the afternoon, the Union on Trial. Sadly, there was no jury, otherwise your correspondent would have been first in the queue to volunteer, but what we did see was a film of the evidence for the prosecution.

It was a preview, to be sure, but that didn’t take away its power. It consisted of three talking heads, each with a story to tell about the plundering and the looting and the suppression of our country. It was an assault that began after the ink was barely dry on a treaty that served as a fig leaf under which the new British state hid as it began the ransacking of our country, a looting that continues to this day.

We were left open-mouthed; sad and sorrowful at what has gone before, yet raging and determined that the time had come that the British state’s rape of our country would be stopped, and that they would be made to pay.

I say ‘we’ of course – at least that’s how your correspondent felt, but with a strong suspicion that not just those in the room but that every Scot who sees the Union on Trial will shout GUILTY and NO MORE!

An AGM did I say? Man, it was much more than that.