To my fellow Scots
We have just had an election where Scotland - and the rest of Britain - voted overwhelmingly for change. And change is desperately needed: to create high quality jobs, improve our NHS, transform our schools, preserve our environment, and combat poverty and inequality. But right now there is no overwhelming majority for how Scotland should be governed.
I am therefore inviting all of you - whatever your views on independence - to attend a Neighbourhood Assembly put on by Our Scottish Future. To talk together as one community about what kind of a Scotland we want to build over the next decade. To find what values and hopes we have in common. To understand why we disagree when we do. To uncover the sort of change we could all unite behind. We need to hear what every community in Scotland has to say.
Despite the turmoil of the last decade I still hope that Scotland's future will be better inside the United Kingdom in some form, and that we can find a way forward that the vast majority of people in Scotland can support.
It is time we listened to each other. The division cannot go on. We need to settle this.
Scotland is a divided country in a divided Kingdom. The referendums of the 2010’s have created a legacy of bitterness and a politics that is stuck repeating the same tired arguments and slogans
We are still known the world over for our sense of fairness, our ingenuity, and our pride in Scotland’s role in the world. But at home we are all having to deal with rising economic insecurity in what feels too often like a rigged system, our NHS and public services struggling under huge pressures, and a breakdown of trust in our current political system as a route to solving these problems.
Scotland therefore desperately wants both change and settlement – a vision of a better society that can rise to the challenges of the 2020s, and one that an overwhelming majority of people in Scotland can feel a part of no matter what their national identity.
We at Our Scottish Future want to play a part in this change by helping to come up with the ideas and solutions that can build a better Scotland and that will stand the test of time.
Let’s Talk Scotland
We know that Scotland can do better than what is on offer from either Westminster or Holyrood right now. That Scotland’s unique culture and history cannot be papered over by raising flags a little higher, and that the economic ties and shared values that exist between Scotland and the rest of the UK cannot be ignored.
We believe that the common values and shared experiences of people living in communities across our country are stronger and more important than our political disagreements. That by coming together and talking openly and honestly about how they feel about Scotland today and their hopes and fears for the future, people all over our country can together come up with the ideas and a vision for the future that is fundamentally different to today.
We want to bring neighbours, friends and families together across Scotland to share their stories, to discover where they agree, and understand how and why they might disagree. From these Neighbourhood Assemblies we might just find that our shared values can lead to common purpose and a way forwards as One Scotland.
One Scotland, Many Voices
We want to hear from everyone – Yes and No, Leave and Remain. Whatever our future relationship with Britain, we know that Scotland will do better the more United it is.
If you sign up above, we will let you know when there is a Neighbourhood Assembly nearby. Neighbourhood assemblies will last for 2-3 hours and we will refund reasonable travel and childcare costs. We will do our best to accommodate everyone who signs up, but occasionally numbers may be limited.
Upcoming Neighbourhood Assemblies and other meet ups will also appear on our website below.
We will be holding events in:
Edinburgh Northern and Leith
News, press releases and reports
THE Scottish and UK Governments should convene an urgent ‘virtual summit’ to agree a joint plan to test, trace and isolate COVID 19 in Scotland, an open letter signed by union leaders and Care Home chiefs declares today.... (read more)
The Scottish and UK Governments must agree a radical acceleration of testing for coronavirus in Scotland if the country is to secure a clear path out of lockdown, a leading think-tank says today.... (read more)
Who we are
Our Scottish Future is a think tank founded by Gordon Brown but involving people from a wide range of political backgrounds and none. Although we believe that Scotland has a better future within the UK, we recognise that Scotland needs to change, and that the best change will come from a point of consensus and unity rather than division. We believe that a positive vision for a future Scotland must therefore be exciting to both Yes and No voters, and to do that we need to start by listening to everyone – especially those who support Independence today.
What happens in a Neighbourhood Assembly
Neighbourhood Assemblies are opportunities for communities to come together and talk and listen to each other in a way that is unusual in the current political debate. It is an opportunity to hear directly why people have the political beliefs that they do, discover common ground, and appreciate diversity of opinion. We are explicitly not trying to persuade anybody to compromise their beliefs or their principles, we just want to listen and to learn.
What will happen next
After each assembly we will send a summary of what was discussed and areas where there was agreement to everyone who participated. As we do more across Scotland we will gather together and publish a report that highlights the common ground that exists in Scottish politics, and start to campaign for change in those areas by coming up with policy ideas and working with any political party that wants to collaborate with us to put them into practice.