March for Independence. Believe in Scotland. Pensioners for Independence

Yes! First March for Independence of 2024.

Last weekend saw the first March for Independence in this year’s calendar – and the sun came out!

The March was a collaboration between Believe in Scotland and Pensioners for Independence. The chosen theme was #End Pensioner Poverty. And it all happened in Glasgow under a blue sky and with the sun beaming down on us.

March for Independence. Believe in Scotland. Pensioners for Independence
Fraser Wilson Photo. From Believe in Scotland Facebook Group

The route began in Kelvin Way and ended in George Square where everything was set up for the Rally. George Square was a great place to choose : for those people who couldn’t join the March, it has umpteen options to get there by public transport; there’s loads of parking within a few minutes walk; and it meant the March itself wasn’t too long!

March for Independence. Believe in Scotland. Pensioners for Independence

Here’s a slide show from the day.

Most of the photos are from Believe in Scotland. There were a fair number of Yes Groups visible in the throng: Radical Independence Movement, Yes Glasgow East, Salvo, Scottish Socialists, and Pensioners4Indy Groups from Selkirk, Edinburgh, Greater Glasgow, Dumfries. And probably lots more that we didn’t see.

We Woz There!

What with both our main presenters being involved in the day, we were busy, busy, busy!

Marlene was one of the speakers and as you’ll have noticed from the slide show, was at the head of the March next to Pat Kane, Martin Compston and Humza. Fiona was interviewing and filming in George Square. She was interviewed by a Dutch film crew who had contacted us and who were over for the week making a documentary about the Scottish Independence Movement.

March for Independence: a review

  • There were thousands there. Not as many thousands as we’ve seen in some other marches. But a respectable turnout. There was a Scottish Cup semi-final on as well… OK, ok just sayin’.
  • As we’d expect it was friendly, there were kids, there were dogs. Polis were friendly and chatted away to us, as usual. And one of them jumped in front of a car, and thumped on its bonnet, to stop it barging through the marchers.
  • I heard some tourists asking what was happening and saw them getting an eager explanation from a marcher.
  • There had been a spat between Alba and Believe in Scotland beforehand. That was a shame.
  • George Square was where stalls were set up: Yes Stones, IndependenceLive, Pensioners4Indy, and more.
  • There was a lot of pre-March promotion, including Marlene being a guest on the TNT Show with Gordon McIntyre-Kemp and John Drummond.
  • Footage appeared on Sky News, the National, there were camera crews filming. As James Robertson said in his speech “There is no news where you are on a Saturday” and I may be doing BBC a disservice but they seem to have stuck to that approach! For that whole poem look here: The News Where You Are
  • The range of speakers was impressive what with the First Minister being there. But also writers, poets, campaigners, trade unionists, film-makers.

End Pensioner Poverty: Did the Message Get Through?

  • Pensioner for Independence were well featured in the event. They turned up from campaigning groups based in Selkirk, Edinburgh, Ayr, Glasgow, Bearsden & Milngavie, Fife
  • Marlene delivered a strong message about need for supporting those older Scots dependent on their State Pension. Her speech is on Pensioners for Independence blog here Let’s End Pensioner Poverty
  • The First Minister added his views of how pensioners deserve a better pension.
  • Marlene touched on the fact that two thirds of over 60s are still unconvinced about independence and she suggested that we start a Cross Generations Conversation about it.

For the Next Time: Any Improvements?

  • The theme of End Pensioner Poverty was definitely heard clearly. But it wasn’t really a strong thread through the speeches.
  • Could it have been more of a central theme? Well the speakers could have been asked to include something on the chosen theme. It didn’t need to be their main focus but it would have been good to have heard something from their different perspectives.. Some of the speakers were young, some just becoming pensioners (that was the writer James Robertson and he did say that), there was a Trade Union leader.
  • Maybe have fewer speakers. People standing at the rally start to get tired. Kids want their tea.

But all in all it was great day. And we’re looking forward to the next one … but we might take it a bit easier!

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