Thursday, October 10, 2013

What will you spend your money on today?

I was contacted last night by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, who asked me to give a mention to the fundraising drive for their Common Weal project. In the unlikely event that you don't already know about the Common Weal, it's a bold and imaginative attempt to flesh out a Nordic-style social and economic model for Scotland in advance of the independence referendum, as an alternative to the now firmly entrenched Thatcherite Westminster model. The fundraising target is £25,000, and at the time of writing £9350 has been raised so far, with just two weeks to go. The 'flexible funding' option is being used, which means that the campaign will receive the money raised even if the target isn't reached, but the fee deducted by Indiegogo will be higher in that eventuality.

During the podcast I took part in a few weeks ago, Andrew Tickell (aka Lallands Peat Worrier) argued the case that Yes supporters may have been unwise to help fund the recent Wings over Scotland poll, on the grounds that the money could otherwise have gone to Yes Scotland, who haven't exactly given the impression of being awash with resources. I don't agree with that, because the poll was so inexpensive and its impact so great (even with the media blackout) that it's very hard to see any way in which the Yes campaign could have used a few thousand pounds that would have provided a better bang for our buck. Likewise, the campaigns to fund Wings itself and National Collective were well worth supporting, as a high-quality alternative media is an invaluable complement to the work of Yes Scotland. And I don't think any of us need to be persuaded of the logic for helping to fund Women for Independence.

But the Common Weal project is arguably in a different category, and it's not immediately obvious whether money would be better spent on it, rather than the Yes campaign. The counterargument is that this isn't a zero-sum game - people may well be so inspired by the Common Weal that they'd be prepared to donate money over and above what they would have given to Yes Scotland or the SNP anyway.

If you'd like to make up your own mind by reading more about the fundraising drive, click HERE.


  1. You know what? I funded the WoS poll, but I'm also funding Yes Scotland to a considerably larger sum. It wasn't an either/or, and I don't imagine it was for many of the contributors.

    You know something else? At least I saw what I got for my money with the WoS poll (a measly tenner actually, because the appeal was fully subscribed before I even got to my PayPal account, so I just chucked in a token amount). I've thrown quite a lot of money at Yes Scotland, and I still have to pay for car stickers and badges, and our branch still has to buy every leaflet and newspaper it wants to distribute.

    Is Yes Scotland really strapped for cash even with the Weirs' donations and all the individual standing orders and so on, and what about the equivalent amount the Weirs gave the SNP for the referendum fund, or the Edwin Morgan bequest, or the individual standing orders from SNP supporters meant for the referendum campaign? Yes, I've got one of these too.

    If it is, maybe they need to explain why, and why we're pouring so much cash into a Yes campaign that isn't at the moment producing a lot of bang for these bucks. And that's why we give the money to Wings and NC and others, because they're producing the "instant gratification that keeps morale up apart from anything else.

  2. "Is Yes Scotland really strapped for cash even with the Weirs' donations"

    They may well be in a comparative sense, because of course the Weirs' donation has been eclipsed by the No campaign's funding from English-based Tory-supporting millionaires (including the dirty money from Ian Taylor). Hopefully the Weirs might yet consider donating again, but whether they do or not, this may well be a campaign where absolutely every possible drop of money is needed.

  3. True enough, but it does feel a bit as if money poured into Yes Scotland is just swallowed up into a black hole, whereas money to Wings (for example) actually delivers.

    I'm not exactly demanding audited accounts, but I'd quite like an idea of where all that cash is going, and why we can't have even inexpensive promotional items like car stickers and badges to give out free.