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IndyX – What’s Next?

Tickets have just gone live for the second IndyX event.

Articles Vive Updates

Independence mini site launched!

Today we launched our mini site for Independence. This is a first draft of our plan and policy for achieving independence at the next election.

Over the coming weeks we will expand and build upon the feedback received and hopefully create a solid foundation on which to stand.

We’ve been working on this a little while. We really hope you like it. With it, Independence is on the ballot.

Let us know your thoughts.

Articles Vive Policy Vive Updates

Our Energy Plan

How to win at energy and become embarrassingly wealthy.  

It’s probably not escaped your awareness over the last few years that you, the consumer, have been propping up the massive global energy market. It’s terribly inconvenient to the energy producers and suppliers that prices have gone up while available supply has gone down. There is however a great lie you have been fed. That Scotland was on the precipice of running out – and experiencing blackouts. This could not have been further from the truth. Scotland may be the most energy-rich country on the planet. 

This is not your dads’ policy paper – this is yours. We’re ViveEcosse. 

There is something in the water. 

We already have the solution to the whole nature of how we should build, fund and run a national energy company. The solution already exists. It’s called Scottish Water. 

You probably already quite like Scottish Water. Your council collects the monthly payment you make to them, your council makes adjustments based on the value of your property, and the council suspends payment when it knows you cannot pay. It works quite well. 

You’ve maybe called them to report a leak or loss of supply – but it’s unlikely you’ve ever called them about a bill and never have you had to contact them about meter readings. They’re considered the best in the UK, and one of the best in Europe by their customers – and yet many don’t even stop to think about who the supplier is. 

They don’t generate profits for shareholders – any money made goes into network improvement and any profit gets added back to national investment spending by the government. They don’t go into debt and they don’t take risky gambles. Relatively they are boring – every single day is about stability – and doing things the same. 

Also – it’s one set monthly fee. Use unlimited. It’s still the same price. Go wild. Take as much as you like. 

Energy should be boringly simple.

We have three energy crises to handle just now;

1. The ‘heating or eating’ crisis – where your energy demands may exceed your ability to fund both energy and your ability to eat. A particularly annoying situation to find ourselves in during a National Health overload – people either freezing or malnourished. 

2. Climate Crisis beyond all imagination – The planet oddly isn’t too fussed and will survive just fine, it’ll just filter humans out when it wishes to rebalance itself. 

3. Energy security – where most of the countries with resources happen to be run by tinpot dictators and walking human rights violations. 

We should use more electricity. 

Running a gas supply to a house or having a bunker of oil on your grounds is something of the dark ages. Gas supplies and oil are not particularly useful in the continuation of human health. Honestly – burning fossil fuels directly in the home should be the absolute worst-case situation. 

Electricity in comparison is relatively safe. We have breakers that can turn it off before a jolt crosses your heart. It also doesn’t really have explosive capabilities or the tendency to suffocate you invisibly in your sleep. 

It’s more useful than the liquid and gaseous fuels as we can throw it along wires – and in many cases along extensions that you can plug in yourself. Oh, and we have a lot of it. We have more electricity than we could ever hope to use. We have more than we could ever hope to export. We have more than we reasonably know what to do with. There is more electric capability than just about anything else. Seriously it’s the most plentiful resource we’ve ever known. 

The sun, the sea and the blustery winds. 

We have the capability to pop a panel on every house in the country and the sun will power the majority of them for free year-round. It will partially power the rest for most of the year. The sun will recharge those cells daily and work consistently. 

Some big dangly things can be dropped in the waters that *checks notes* literally surround the entire coast of our country and by some kinetic movement magic – they fling out electricity from being tidally bounced about in the wavy waters that surround us. 

When we don’t have sun and light, and when the tide is not alright, we have a secret weapon – we have massive windmills in the sky stealing power from the currents in the air. More electricity is generated by these turbines than we could hope to use in our homes. 

But that surely isn’t enough?

It does seem a little optimistic to quickly get off the dinosaur juice with just 100% of national capacity covered by renewable energy – occasionally with only 100% designed in it won’t quite match how much we need – because we’re quite awkward in how we use it. We like spikes and dips. We like sleeping at the same time and making dinner together. Sadly the wind, rain and sun don’t come in a useful pattern. 

There’s some magic though – we can literally just add more capacity. You see, 100% of installed capacity takes up a tiny fraction of the available capacity. We really could be wild – 300% capacity – we’re capable of that in a few short years. 500% of capacity – maybe a decade. 1000% of capacity – maybe two decades. 

But what about when there is no sun, no light, no wind and no tide?

There’s a magic cheat device. It’s a bit like when we invented banks. It wasn’t that useful or safe to have all your money at home or on your person. So we built banks – a place to store our monetary resources until we needed them. 

We will call it an energy bank or in other words a battery. We build them for houses now. 

They’re about the size of a garden slab and about as heavy too. They can power your house for an entire day – and you can put them on the outside wall, the inside walls, in cupboards, under floors, in attics, in hallways, in corridors. In fact, they really don’t care how or where you place them. 

They even improve the general grid – when there is no grid power – there is no blackout because your little battery gives the power company a whole day to fix things

Where on earth are we going to find the resources to build these tidal collectors, these wind factories, and solar stealers? 

Our industrial past serves us well. We have transport links around the country. We have the ports. We have the engineering knowledge. The academic nuance. There are a ton of big empty factory buildings in nearly every town and city in the country – you may even be able to think of a few as you read this. 

So let us get to work and use those massive industrial spaces again for the industry. 

Surely once we’ve built it though – it’s done? 

Oh no. First, we’re gonna sell dinosaur juice (or fossil fuels) that we have Western Europe’s largest proven supply of to stabilise the energy security situation across the entire of Europe. Then we’re gonna sell them the fix to the climate emergency. 

Wind turbines need replacement blades, tidal boppers need regular cleaning, and solar panels need changed every decade for more efficient tech. There is a whole hidden industry in the perpetual development – and we’re going to lead it. 

We are going to take a crisis and we’re gonna criminally capitalise while saving the planet. Honestly, you can charge countries for the solution. 

We can sell them the interim oil, the transmitted clean energy over big cables, and then finally the solution to not needing the first two items. This alone would cover the entire cost and make it wash its face. 

We’re gonna be greedy though. 

The people of Scotland own the resources and own the means of supply. Much like Scottish Water, we’re only going to let our national energy company charge us the cost of running the network. A set fee will be introduced – based on your house band – and the average will be around £50 a month. Unlimited usage. Go wild. Heat your home. 

The truth is – waste as much as you like it doesn’t really make a dent. When it’s coming from an infinite renewable supply like our water – the amount the average house can use even when really trying – doesn’t really make the line move. 

Boom, in our energy glut, we’ve just solved the heating or eating problem, we’ve just stopped all the oldies hitting hypothermia this Christmas, and we can stop that annoying advert about being cold and putting on an extra jumper. Scarfs in the living room are out and shorts and t-shirt are in. Meters removed, batteries installed.

Businesses will be charged basically what they are currently – much in the same way they have metered water on a pay-as-you-use tariff.

See those profits energy producers used to get from extractions and generation – we’re just gonna take that over. Tell them to bolt. They’ve had their chance. 

The energy we export will be at the older – higher – extortion rates we currently pay on the global marketplace. However, the actual generation cost is so ridiculously low, not even 10% of the current wholesale cost – that we’re gonna make 90% profit selling our surplus to others. Then we’re gonna charge them for the tools to be their own solution. 

This sounds great but how are you funding this great idea? 

The solution to that already exists too – years ago we told companies to charge for single-use bags – and they did! They were supposed to send the money to charity but it was always a suggestion and not a rule. Well times are tough and the charity giving is poor from them – so we’re taking it. We’ll let them keep sending to charities they do support – but those companies profiting off our environmental tax – will soon be sending it our way. 

We’ve decided to be our own charity case – and we’ll use the bag tax to fund the start-up of Lightning Bolt Scotland – the national energy company. It generates tens of millions in tax every year – we’re gonna take that and bootstrap up. 

Our fossil fuel transition is another massive funding source – being a world leader in carbon capture, decommission and establishment of new technologies will be the remit of our workers in the North. If we’re to improve, replace, remove – the people working in the field already are the ones with the knowledge key to succeed quickly. 

How and when?

Our grid is already technically independent – we just need to assert control the same we in which we established Scottish Water. Councils have the billing apparatus in place and it’s well-tested and battle ready. Batteries can be installed pretty easily. The capital can be borrowed on energy infrastructure commercially without much fuss. We already build the things we need to make more power. We control our own planning rules. Pop some ugly panels on everyone’s roof, plug in a battery, and charge fairer rates. 

Shed no tears for the corporations that will be departing – they had a chance to show it was people before profit and they decided to profit even deeper, during the hardest of our times. 

We have every power, the potential and the plan – now we just need the politicians to do it. 

We are ViveEcosse and this is our energy plan. Thank you. 


Competence, constitutionally

First Minister Humza Yousaf set out the Scottish Government plan for establishing a constitution for an Independent Scotland.

This is a welcome development and should be widely supported. If you look at our article: Where are the investigative journalists?

You can see a large number of the breakaway countries form the British Empire – actually did so by building a constitution and then ascending it through a plurality vote, leading to independence.

This building block is fundamental to the forming of a modern nation.

Humza was correct in saying – Westminster not having one – is the constitutional outlier.

The debate is now open, the discussion has now begun and the question is now – what do you think is fundamental to a country?

This is important stuff. We want to get this right as a nation.

STV’s Colin McKay asked if it’s not putting the cart before the horse effectively debating this before independence or in lieu of an Independence Strategy. However I don’t think many of our journalists have a firm grasp on this may be the step – that actually delivers independence.

As a movement we need to let parties do as they do – while we focus on building the foundations of the future – which is more important.

Articles Ash Regan Campaign

Independence Thermometers

Days 13, 14, 15

2-4th March 2023

The morning of the 2nd started with the news that John Swinney wouldn’t be in a future cabinet, his time was done and his shift was over. However, we’d been tipped by a few journalists that there was about to be scandalous news emerging on the SNP.

We had a rule early on in the campaign to stick to our media grid and not get dragged into whatever was leading the day’s press – as it wasn’t usually ever that useful. You can only do so much while reacting and having a unique angle. It’s always far better to be charting your own destiny and setting out something people can come behind. However in we all got sucked.

There was a great sense – the secret SNP emails were about to be made public – however, I don’t think to this day Stewart McDonald’s phished phone information has actually surfaced, probably on account of him being dreadfully boring.

After a few false pulses of timings of breaking news. Ash began to get ready in case we had to make a statement, the team sat ready to verify, respond and promulgate. Alas, nothing of any value came and the journalists leading the charge were moved to the naughty step. This a firm reminder to stick to your own message and grid and ignore the nonsense.

We referred to it as ‘the great ambulance chase’ – and agreed not to do it again. We started work on our next item on the list – the SNP Activist Academy – a program of getting members fighting fit to be leaders and organisers of the future.

We liked the idea of Duolingo, with TED talks, and Khan Academy-style lessons all smashed together. We envisioned seasoned activists and Parliamentarians leading the talks about how they’d made their way up and how others could follow. Talent planning is sorely missing in the SNP and this was our crack at that.

Currency was our next big media set piece, we’d taken photos at the launch with Tim Rideout on behalf of the Scottish Currency Group. In truth this is exactly the sort of work that needs to be adopted throughout the movement, it’s incredibly detailed and quite robust. This took over the team’s work for the day for the Sunday papers.

Credit: Colin D Fisher/CDFIMAGES.COM

Moments after launching it as our next big article – we were branded Indy Extremists – consider that for a moment, the idea you have your own currency is now extreme. There was a lot of media hatred towards Megan and Harry regarding the coronation lingering around this time – we suggested in our chat maybe having a King Harry and Queen Meghan – just to gauge the level of froth, but we decided to leave our trolling in the planning stages only.

The great coronation stone was up next – our first real disagreement in the core team chat. I felt we should have rolled our collective eyes and ignored the whole argument. I’m not convinced the stone resonates with modern Scots on matters of statehood and the pageantry should be ignored. However, we went in another direction and suggested a compromise position. The media had a field day.

Usefully Kate’s husband had been spotted in some prior Tory hustings and the media storm went away as quickly as it arrived. We were repeatedly asked for comment – however, we all agreed we would not negatively campaign. Likewise, it would be a bit mental to go negative after having called for less mudslinging.

Key theme: stay out of reactive and back into formative. Set the agenda, don’t become the agenda.

We’d been discussing and reviewing a lot of the analysis of the media output and hustings so far, a meeting was set up with Robin McAlpine ahead of the second hustings in Fife to provide a bit of media prep and some core messaging that he felt needed to be conveyed in particular around independence readiness planning.

Around 6 pm Mrs O and Bailey arrived at the venue to prepare. Again the same pattern had emerged – but this time Jenny Gilruth was outside setting up the Humza arrival gang and photo – and again many of the members then immediately left. This stunt appears to be right out of the playbook.

The sound and lighting were worse than the first event. The lighting was atrocious and looked very dark. The audience was not receptive to the message, it had a particularly large showing of the ‘gender above everything else’ crowd and was stuffed with councillors openly hostile to Kate and Ash while whooping for Humza. It did not help that we were not having a good night – Ash was very clearly exhausted due to the schedule the few days prior and the answers were not landing correctly.

However, it was not dark enough to cover what happened next. Independence Thermometer.

We’ll publish the thinking behind it soon 😉

Responding to a question on progress toward independence, Ash told a story of how she’d met with people that day and one of them suggested perhaps making a big public progress meter – an independence thermometer if you will, where people could easily see what progress and checkpoints on the way to independence had been delivered.

It’s worth noting – the idea of transparency in government on large projects should always be welcomed. The theory of working in the light and showing iterative steps is a good one. However, in time-limited hustings answers, it’s not a great time to introduce something new and complex so the imagery of a large bulbous protruding thermometer in George Square was the takeaway and that was a step too far – for even the indy converted.

Well, we didn’t need to do sentiment analysis to understand how this had gone down. It got laughed at in the room. Social media lit up like a Christmas tree. Memes appeared everywhere. Questions on if we were trolling were appearing. Journalists were having an absolute field day.

As a presenter, you don’t always know how you’re doing, although Ash had a clue it had really not gone well. The post-match was carried out in a nearby venue. Mrs O and Bailey had the short straw to deliver the bad news. They’d already spoken to the rest of us on the phone. It was our worst day in the campaign, it had been our worst day so far, but on reflection, it was our worst day for the whole campaign.

At around 1 am. I started a little ‘pick up and dust off’ chat in our core team. I’ll not copy the whole thing here but grab the start.

“Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve gathered round the fire, feeling the warmth on our skin, telling stories beside old friends and new. Stories are who people are, and what motivates us, they cause us great sadness, anxiety and fear. They have the power to make you dream and the power to make you cry. We don’t remember every word of the story we tell, but we remember the feelings and the thoughts we have during them. We ask ourselves questions and imagine ourselves the heroes. For every story we share, we add our own touch, our own sparkle and our own light and no story is ever told the same twice.

Stories move us from strangers to friends, they move us from firm ground to daring to dream. They are the powerhouse of every thought and every imagination. They’re unbreakable in your mind because they are the culmination of what you think and feel, they’re compelling and entertaining because they inspire others. Stories are what we are. Let’s go tell our story”

At around 8 am, a new plan was devised and moved into action. If you’ve seen the ‘Let Bartlett be Bartlett’ scene in the West Wing – this was plan ‘Let Ash be Ash’. We’d banned gimmicks, binned the prep sheets, we’d binned the folder of answers, and we locked down any debate prep or further inputs.

It was a long road up the A9 to Inverness, but Mrs O and I got into the car and shot up. Today there would be only one input – a can of Red Bull and raw Ash – unleashed.

We got to the venue and carried out check-in. I advised Ash was running a bit late due to traffic following a car fire on the way in. SNP HQ informed me they’d not be waiting for anyone and that it would start on time. Only after it was apparent Humza and Kate would also be late – was it suddenly not an issue. All three candidates arrived just minutes before showtime.

The Eden Court Theatre was possibly one of the nicest venues for the hustings, the lighting was much better, with massively improved audio. It felt good.

I don’t know if you will have watched the Inverness Hustings – however, it was night and day, from tragic the day before to First Ministerial the day after. A new Ash appeared and moved into a whole new groove. She commanded her opening, her questioning and close. She got rapturous applause and stole many of the key lines. Humza and Kate looked on in apparent surprise.

Our sentiment analysis was looking good and our media appraisals looked favourable! We’d gone from the worst performance to the best, in one night – with nothing more than a Red Bull to unleash the fire we knew Ash had within her.

Ash’s partner was so impressed – he promised us all a curry night on his return! (He kept that promise and we’ll cover it later).

Plenty of fire emojis were used in the chat 🔥, along with hearts ❤️, and saltires 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. A newfound energy was formed and the team started hammering out the post-game messaging.

Following the hustings – we dropped into the fabulous InverYess Indy Hub, which was hosting events that day. They absolutely loved the hustings and had a lot of input on how it went. It was really nice to do this after a good day. While Ash had done a metric ton of media interviews – it was always nice to see she seemed much more comfortable and at home with fellow Yes campaigners. They shared soup and stories of campaigns.