Over to you: how the National Assembly in Ayr put members in charge

On Saturday we held the first of three National Assemblies in Ayr. The event used an innovative new format that put members in charge of the conversation and ensured their voice was heard.

It was a fantastic success – the event was buzzing with conversation and debate on the opportunities of an independent Scotland.

We asked two members who attended, Cameron Mauchlen and Kirsten Oswald, how it went for them – here’s what they said.

Cameron Mauchlen

The strength of any political party lies within its membership; therefore, it is paramount that an effort is made to engage them. The National Assembly which I attended on 25 August fulfilled its function of being a ‘forum for members’ to ‘consider, review and debate party policy’.

The assembly moved beyond the traditional town hall format to utilise an Open Space method, which allowed participants to drive the discussion. The Growth Commissions Report provided a prospectus of what Scotland could be like if it was independent and served as a basis for the assembly’s discussions. The topics selected by the attendees ranged from the currency of an independent Scotland and youth engagement to infrastructure and GERS figures.

I was able to meet Scots from beyond my community and to share best practice and campaigning experiences while representing the views of both young Scots and young SNP members. I left the assembly with a sense that I am joined by fellow members who are focused, energised and motivated to convey a vision of a successful independent Scotland to our fellow citizens. Lastly, I look forward to National Assemblies becoming a fixture of the Party again.

Cameron is Convener of the SNP Ardrossan Branch

Kirsten Oswald

I came away from the SNP National Assembly in Ayr with a smile on my face and a spring in my step after a day of enthusiastic debate and discussion with four hundred fellow SNP members with independence on their minds.

“This was an interactive and engaging event, putting members at the heart of the conversation about Scotland’s future. From the start, we were in control of what was discussed and everyone had an opportunity to contribute their views on our future as an independent country.

“Members really enjoyed the collaborative way the National Assembly was organised. Keith Brown our new Depute Leader was as good as his word, and spent the day talking with and listening to members. It was very useful to hear from Roger Mullin, who sat on the Growth Commission, and to have him participate in discussions throughout the event.

“For me, the opportunity to spend time with fellow SNP members, discussing how best to fulfil the immense potential Scotland has, was invaluable. The Sustainable Growth Commission Report has generated a wealth of ideas, and the National Assemblies are a great way of making sure everyone’s views can be heard. I’m really glad to have been part of that.

Kirsten Oswald is Convener of the SNP Eastwood branch and the former MP for East Renfrewshire.

It’s not too late to join the conversation!

The next National Assembly will be held in Aviemore on Saturday 1 September, find out more in the members section of the website my.snp.org