Big Indy Night In: Festival brings a positive outlook for 2021


WE were blown away by the positivity that we saw last night at the Big Indy Night In. It wasn’t just that performers like Eddi Reader and Alan Bissett were so captivating and inspiring, it was all the comments of everyone who came.

There was a real sense that the Big Indy Night In was what people needed to end this year and to give a wee bit of hope for us all as we head into 2021.

We decided to put on a big end of year festival for many reasons, principally it was, as Elaine C Smith nicely puts it, to “bring a bit of light and joy into what has been a horrendous year for so many”. That’s what we did and with almost one thousand tickets sold, we really hope that people left the event feeling buoyant about the prospects for independence in the near future.

Everyone had their own highlights: The return of Wee Ginger Dug, Val McDermid chatting to Richard Walker, Lesley Riddoch leading a panel discussion with Mike Small, Joyce McMillan and Gerry Hassan; Eddi Reader’s intimate set in front of the fire, Janey Godley making everyone crease with laughter or Jackie Kay’s infectious joy.

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Certainly, the star of the show was Elaine C Smith. For the whole day she kept going with an energy, enthusiasm and joy which really encapsulates the spirit of the event and that positivity that we need to take into our campaign as we move into 2021.

It would be easy to look at the line-up for the Big Indy Night In and think it is all about the personalities, but it wasn’t. This was an event to bring the movement together and for those who have been missing it, reignite the joy, positivity and hope that we need for a successful campaign that delivers an independent Scotland that works for everyone.

A consistent theme that ran through much of the discussion echoed the principles that we have at Voices for Scotland – we need people to come together, talk and plan the independent Scotland we want to see. With everything we do, we ask, “how will this grow support for independence?”, “how do we speak to the people who haven’t made up their mind yet?”.

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Of course, at an event called the Big Indy Night In, we’re likely to attract many that have already made up their mind, but this is about people feeling part of something, connecting through ideas and a vision of the country we want to be. With this, the movement can feel better informed and more confident to speak to those who are undecided about what matters to them, leaving the ‘Yes/No ’debate behind and focussing on the future.

As this year draws to a close we are already planning for campaigning in 2021. We recently launched our Be A Voice (https://voicesforscotland.scot/be-a-voice/) initiative with Ruth Wishart and have other ambitious plans in the pipeline.

We are going to need the light, joy and positivity that we’ve seen at the Big Indy Night In. For Scotland to win its independence back we need a lot of energy and hard work, but we need to focus on putting forward that positive vision for a new Scotland, a more equal Scotland, a wealthy country with good education for all, opportunities, a clean environment, a well-funded NHS and a happy Scotland that works for everyone.

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