Do Your Duty

What are we going to do on September 19? Yes, I know…party long and hard, barbecue the haggis and smear on the chip fat etc. But that’s also the time when the work starts because the referendum is only the mandate. The talks follow along with the job of building the new nation which isn’t left to politicians and institutions but is done by us.

The most important part will be a sense of urgency and purpose to bring about the plans for change from streamlining and collecting the taxes to prioritising the areas where they should be spent. And if this new people engagement means anything, it is that we are no longer bystanders, passive observers in our own society as things are done TO us and FOR us.


I believe that each and every one of us (that’s No’s too) should see a role for ourselves in energising and supporting the momentum that has got us here. Loosely basing my idea on JFK – Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country – I think we should start a national volunteer register.

Everyone has a talent. I’m always struck by the range and depth of knowledge of contributors who post here – their life stories of living and working abroad (as some still do), of their professional experience in medicine, finance, oil and academia – and I realise that if you multiply that by the population at large, we have an unmatched reservoir of ability not defined by age or employability but by availability.

We should establish a register of names with identified talents. We can add ourselves to it and say what we are capable of, what we can offer in time, money and expertise and make ourselves available for the national effort.

We can put our shoulder to the wheel in the common weal. There is a great tradition of volunteering – we saw it at the Commonwealth Games – and we have a huge and valuable Third Sector in Scotland. The campaign has got people out of their houses and on to the streets and speaking to each other. In fact I think we may have overlooked the community spirit created by Yes canvassing, street stalls and discussions which has taken us beyond politics into a healthy involvement with our neighbours (and with strangers). This is a feel good factor to be nourished and used in future.

When a job needs doing in our area, the names on the register can be contacted and asked to give their time to the cause – and there couldn’t be a greater one than Scotland. This is an area where both sides can be reconciled and learn to work together in a shared interest. How good would it feel to know that not only did you deliver independence by campaigning and voting but that you stood ready to help when the country called?

A National Volunteer Register. Why don’t we start it – now?

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45 thoughts on “Do Your Duty

  1. This is exactly what my husband and I have been discussing.
    This wonderful feeling and movement must not be lost.
    I fully support this idea and would be prepared to offer my knowledge and expertise to promote an Independent Scotland.

  2. What a cracking idea

  3. As a yes canvaser and stall activists I think your right. but there is also a mass of talent in the No activists to. I found a lot of common ground in discussions with them. There needs to be something for them in the new country to. We need a brief period of reconciliation whilst we move the focus to prioritize the independence negotiation. on another note as a Journalist why do you think that the media in general concentrated on Alex. There are thousands of exclusive stories amongst the activists, but they went largely untold. be interested in your thoughts.

  4. Put you in charge of SBC Derek. That should be the first thing!

  5. Derek, I have been thinking about that. About how the data would be gathered, stored and retrieved, and how the needs of the jobs would be matched to the talents of the people. Even started to consider what resources would be required and how much it would cost.

    However, the NO vote have stolen a march. Their “pledge” this morning has come at the psychological moment, that is Tuesday morning, as I suggested in an earlier post. There has been no counter strike by the YES campaign. This will probably cost 2% of the vote. Don’t start chilling the champagne.

    I can think of only two things;

    The Scottish government publishes a statement of intent by telling BAE that they will place an immediate order for two Type 26 frigates for the Scottish Navy. They will be needed even if they eventually go to rUK Navy as part of a swap, e.g. we take two Type 23 ships now and replace or similar.

    An open letter to all Unions and members in Scotland outlining the benefits that a Scottish Government would implement;
    Ban on zero hours contracts,
    Renationalisation of Royal Mail Scotland (I have a letter confirming this),
    Right to take industrial action,
    Good industrial relations are fostered.
    The minimum wage is raised to the level of a decent living wage,
    The overuse of temporary appointments in what should be permanent jobs is curtailed,
    The NHS is protected and cherished,
    Pensions are guaranteed,

    I would also like to see a separate Chamber in Parlaiment where non-political representatives,held power;
    Like the WRI, Boy Scouts, CBI, Unions, Sports Associations, Charities, etc , to provide a check and balance on the political chamber.

    • as much as i like your idea the Scottish Government are prohibited from any announcement like such during this period the other parties in this united kingdom are bypassing this instruction by offering the moon stars and everything in between at the last minute by offering it as a political party and not the government maybe not in the spirit of the rules but the electoral commission are standing by doing what they do best “nothing” the same nothing we get with a NO vote

      • Graham

        Thanks for your response. I don’t get any response from any of my MSPs. They are SNP.
        Yes, we play by the rules.

    • I spoke with my postie today and asked him how he liked working for the new boss. He answered, they want us to work far too much overtime without choice, saying you’re being paid for it. He said he would rather have the time to spend with his family, than the extra money and will be leaving as soon as he finds another job. YES lets buy back all our utilities that were sold by Thatcher, and ease the pressure of soaring utility bills for profit. Let MP’s or any big earners take a wage cut to create wage equality, that would really make me feel we were working together for a better Scotland for all. YES let’s have a register of volunteers that are more than just slave labour, let’s have volunteers that go and get the opinion of those living in their communities and publish so we can all see the issues that need solving and set about achieving true democracy and equality for all. We need to move away from old worn out Westminster politics, that have lost sight of the people in favour of corporations and bankers.

  6. I wouldn’t say I had any great skills to offer. I’m not the most confident of people nor am I great in arguments or debates. I have always shunned public meetings for these reasons. But I have now been to three referendum meetings and have tasted the passion and the will of people for things to be different, to be better in a new Scotland.

    I would hope I could continue to be part of some movement that is putting into practice what has been talked about because some of it sounds great.

    Robin McAlpine really got me enthused and I think people like him or the wider Common Weal group could really drive this kind of thing.

    You are right though, the momentum needs to be from day one.

  7. Sounds like a plan. 🙂

  8. Great idea. Bags I environment and overseas development. After Friday I hope that our work will just be starting. Oh to be the most politically engaged and empowered folk on earth. That would be something (and would scare the bejesus out of Westminster in case the contagion spread…).

    • It’s a great idea, but it is not as if Scotland were short of volunteers already. What is required is the power to allow your idea to work. Scotland has one of the most centralised systems of local government in the world (See Lesley’s ‘Blossom’), and neither of our two big parties has done anything about it, because, shamefully, the current structure suits them both, albeit in different ways. Anyone who has tried to get things done in their community knows what an exhausting battle it is to take on the red-tapery and jobsworthery of local councils.

      So the next battle to be won (whether independent or not) is to get this outdated structure – mostly inherited unchanged since the bad old days of the Scottish Office – ripped up. This is something local Yes groups can put their shoulder to next, without losing the coherence which has brought us this far, because this is not a party political matter. It is a further step in the drive to bring power to the people who need it.

      Every area of Scotland will have different ideas about the structure that would suit them best. Well, why not allow that diversity? Indeed, demand it. It may not be tidy, and it may be anathema to officials, but we made the Yes campaign work without any need for top-down control.

      So why not do this next?

  9. One further suggestion.
    After independence anyone caught ticking a box will be fired and sent into exile.

  10. THis may sound daft but what about National Community Service for all 17-19 year olds, paid a living wage? To work on major, and minor infrastructure projects – could help educate those currently outside the pale in a range of practical, and social skills, and counteract elitism amongst others who would have to rub shoulder s wi aw o Jock Tamson;’s (17-19 year old) bairns.. …………. Happy to sign up for idea of National Violunteers pro tem.

  11. No everyone’s bag i know but I have already contacted Common Weal to offer whatever help I can give them come September 19th regardless of the result. We cannot let what we have grown over the last 2 to 3 years wilt and die on the vine. We have to harvest the goodwill and talents on both sides for the betterment of all of us.
    This vote has long since stopped being about governments and politicians. It’s clear to all that it’s about what kind of society we want for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren and, regardless of who is governing here and how we are being governed, it’s up to us – all 5.3 million of us – to decide what we want and to ensure it is delivered. Of course, in my view that task will be made easier with having the full control a Yes vote will bring but believe me if we vote Yes and the “100% of the say 100% of the time ” governments we subsequently elect fail to deliver fairness, equality, honesty, truth, justice, etc. I’ll be kicking their doors down and I expect my 5 miilion fellow Scots to be prepared to do likewise.
    The society we have at present is simply not good enough for the vast majority of people who live in it and enough is enough.
    So put me on your list of volunteers Derek – you have my email address.

  12. Terrific idea, let’s hope this can get organized quickly. Thanks Derek

  13. Great idea – Let’s get the register started now. No better man that yourself to take i9t to next stage.

  14. Awesome idea – count me in

  15. Citizen journalism has worked well so citizen councillor seems like an obvious development and a continuing role for the excellent internet sites – most listed out in the Aye Right leaflet developed by Gavin Lessels – to function as forums and inform.

    Every possibility that a new generation of Murphy/Lamont/Curran/Brown are developing their deceit skills at Labour seminars so a CVC – Citizen Vigilance Corps needed?

  16. Yes, great idea … I’m nearly 69 but I will do something 🙂

    • gael33

      So experience and youth, then?

      (The idea of retiral is a modern phnomenon, that was only ever possible for a lucky cohort after WW2?

  17. Anyone watching the BBC coverage this morning?
    Continuous bias towards the No sayers.
    A pretense to be balanced by the tone of the so called reporters is disgraceful.

  18. No matter the outcome on Friday, I will never again be the apathetic trusting dope I realise I have been in the past, particularly in regard to the BBC. The YES campaign has enthused and engaged a complete cross section of Scottish society who are now politically aware; like you say, that needs to be harnessed. Thank you for a balanced and thoughtful perspective and count me in.

  19. Great idea mannie but can we just have one day off, whatever happens I will have a hangover. I have an appointment with an eminently drinkable bottle of Ardbeg on Friday morning. PS Put me down for horticulture remit!

  20. I read poor Tom Bradbys blog this morning, where he states he’s not enjoying covering the Referendum because of the ‘ intimidation ‘ from the Yes side!!
    When you think of all the chaos in the World and even past protests ( the poll tax , the London riots etc) that journalists have had to cover, poor Tom finds people , yes ordinary people ,fired up and raring to go, awful to report on? Seriously? An awful lot seems to be lost in translation.

    Then I turn to your blog Derek. Someone who fully understands the nuances, the fact when a lot of Scots raise their voice , they’re not shouting at you, they’re passionate, usually speaking even quicker and if you listen carefully Mr Bradby making valid points.

    We can’t lose that. I don’t want to hear people in Scotland speak with the blandness of Douglas Alexander, the vacuous best of both Worlds , the way the voice goes up at the end , as if they’re rounding off a sound bite, I want to hear , ‘ordinary ‘ people and how decisions effect them and more to the point , what we can all do regarding those decisions.
    . The goodwill, the drive, the overwhelming feeling of something good is on the way and every tiny bit , we all do , is working towards that.
    There’s another petition ‘ the National Council of Scotland’ also encouraging people to participate , it would appear to be with a view to negotiation , whatever the outcome.

    However think you’ve hit on something Derek so sign me up, you’ve got my email

  21. Sorry O/T but VERY VERY important. Many voters have not received their polling cards and probably won’t in time for the referendum. Many are saying people in places where Yes support is strong are wost hit by this scam. Please spread the word that YOU DO NOT NEED A POLLING CARD TO VOTE.

  22. Wow! Let the spirit of Scotland flower.

    Derek, Your blog is inspirational!

  23. I understand what you are saying, Derek but we need to win first.

    I am still very nervous because if the liars win – and they have in the past, think Tony Blair, – it will be a disaster for everyone but mainly those of us who have seen beneath those lies.

    Anyone on FB or twitter, get the message out – you don’t need a polling card to vote.

  24. Great idea. I’d be up for offering my IT skills 🙂

  25. Brilliant! I will definitely volunteer and look forward to contributing to nation building with all who want to see Scotland and Scots succeed and make a positive impact on the world. Bravo, Derek.

  26. The first task following a Yes vote will be to ensure that we have the right people on Scotland’s negotiating team. I’m sure I won’t be the only one hoping that Alex Salmond was simply being mischievous when he suggested that the likes of Alistair Darling and Alistair Carmichael might have a place.

    • Peter, I noted AS’ comment.

      Maybe that place is in prison. How can it be legal to lie your head off, even if you are a politician?

      In a new Scotland personal accountability must be brought to the fore.

      I have asked my local MSP, and SNP man and a member of the cabinet, and a waste of space, whether Mr Darling and others are officially domiciled in Scotland. Darling has flipped his main residence a number of times; where is it today?
      Maybe he does not get a vote as presumably if you flip your residence to Islington or wherever, you can only vote in Islington?

  27. I had the privilege of being in Cape Town before, during and after the first free elections when Nelson Mandela was elected as President,

    The voluntary work I saw there was astounding and led by the women of the townships, church groups got organised with supplying skilled tradesmen to show the women how to make their own bricks to build their homes, followed by electricians, joiners and plumbers. The women the became skilled and shared their knowledge with others, helping each other out and not a penny passed hands. They all helped each other build their nation, there is no reason why we cannot do the same.

    I have long thought about all the waste ground I see the length and breadth of the country and wonder why we do not plant food on it. Communities could have their own Market Gardens. I would sign up for that.

  28. A complete review of our system of governance will be required.
    We have to guard against so much needing doing during the negotiating period with England that we don’t lose sight of this very important issue.
    If we win,it will because people have realised that highly centralised government doesn’t work for people but instead for corporate and other vested interests.
    i am sure that if people feel that their voice really does count i.e. that outcomes can be achieved through local initiatives then there will be huge numbers of people wanting to get involved.
    However,unless be get power out to people,we will be stuck in the same old same old.

  29. Great idea. I’m wiling to contribute. I do believe that we need a proper communication strategy. I can’t bear to think that the next 18 months of negotiations following a YES vote would be filtered through the biased lens of BBC Scotland. Our online blogs have been a lifesaver, countering the avalanche of lies.
    Someone in a phone-in this morning said that a million people had marched in Catalonia in support of Scottish independence. Not reported on our media. We urgently need a means of broadcasting reality.

  30. Just read your blog. Great idea.I took early retirement some two yars ago and have since got involved as a volunteer Director with two Community Enterprises. One of the most rewarding things I could have done. I believe in building our new Scotland, social enterprises like this will play a significant part. They need skills and specialist Directors to help build capacity in the local people who run the organisations, but they can also teach the professionals a thing or two. It could be a great opportunity for all.

  31. Super idea! I already volunteer with three charities/voluntary organisations (as well as campaigning for Yes – my word, hadn’t realised just how busy I am!) but I have a rare range of skills that I would be delighted to use for the betterment of all. I am already planning on doing something with the Common Weal after the referendum…

  32. Love this idea, Derek. I’ve had similar ideas myself. I’d seriously consider adding myself to that list if I saw it was being used well. Third sector combined with a voluntary national service idea.

  33. As a former civil servant, the first thing that needs to happen is to boot out the non existent ‘leadership’ of that organisation, make it more accountable to the people of Scotland, and replace the overgrown students with social activists who DO THINGS and understand that it’s okay to shout, we’re Scots, there’s blood in our arteries, not statistics.

    Watching, and being a tiny part of YES, has made me happy. The depth of experience and passion all the sides of YES have shown in the face of such sickening bias from the BBC etc only offers hope.

  34. Great idea! I retired early last year, and am already involved in a social enterprise venture as well as volunteering. Count me in.

  35. As someone who lives a fairly comfortable, insulated life in a middle class area getting out canvassing in some of the poorest areas and manning stalls has taught me, despite the picture often painted by the media, that the vast majority are nice, good natured people. Even the No voters. Sometimes we can sit our little bubbles and be lead by the media or a sort of snobbery to think less of those less fortunate, less well off or simply less well educated than ourselves. I consider myself personally enriched and what I considered a broad mind broadened still further.

    I must admit I have seen some of that prior to this as I have running routes that go through many of these communities and get more positive interactions there than from my own neighbourhood. But it’s a bit different going knocking on their doors in my middle class clothes with my educated accent poking my nose into their thoughts on the issue of the day.

    I emigrated aged 6 from Scotland to NZ aged 6 and returned in my thirties. I feel much closer to Scotland from this campaign and through that closer to my 6yo self grown up to that age in Ayrshire.

  36. Evidence is emerging of possible vote rigging in last night’s count…


    “SCOTLAND INDEPENDENCE VOTE RIGGING EXPOSED Smoking Gun Evidence of Vote Being Rigged!”

    if the above link doesn’t work.

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