Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

March 27, 2013

Looking for highland hosts

539 days and counting.  Some people have argued that this is an inordinate amount of time to spend embroiled in the independence debate. Don’t we all know where we stand when it comes to something as fundamental as the constitutional future of the country?  But perhaps this debate needs to delve deeper than the high level sound bites that we’ve been fed in the media. The Alliance’s programme of hyperlocal events – The Big Vote – is taking shape. We need more partner organisations to host events in the highlands and islands.


THE BIG VOTE – Referendum Road Show 

The Big Vote is going to take the form of a road show of hyper-local events held in community venues across Scotland. The purpose of The Big Vote is to make the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future, during the run up to the referendum in September 2014, more relevant and accessible to communities across in Scotland.

To achieve this grand ambition, the Big Vote will be delivered in partnership with local communities all  across the country and built on a commitment that the issues and questions to be discussed at these events  will come from those communities themselves – bottom up, not top down.

We aim to 

make the events highly participative, constructive and relevant to the local context 

promote opportunities for more active citizenship 

help other stakeholders, including media, politicians and local institutions recognise that local communities matter and have a right to be heard and be engaged in the big issues affecting the country.

create some positive publicity for the community anchor organisations who are helping to organise and host them 

We anticipate twenty events will be held between October 2013 and April 2014. Most would be held in the October/November 2013 and February/April 2014 periods. 

To make this work we need local organisations with access to a suitable venue to express an interest in hosting an event and many already have.  Over the next few months we will be meeting up with those who have already shown interest in hosting an event to discuss two proposed formats. 

One format is a typical town hall meeting and the other combines a more innovative approach which aims to get everyone involved but requires a bigger commitment and is a wee bit more difficult as a result.

We expect to have the two main protagonists, Better Together and Yes Scotland, at every event and have entered discussions with them to plan for their involvement. We have even sourced “celebrity” chairs for some of the events. All we need now are enough host communities to help us to get the national coverage we would like.  Many groups have already volunteered but we seem to be lacking potential partners in the highlands and islands. Anyone interested in hosting an event should contact