Another packed branch meeting took place at the Golden Lion Hotel in Stirling.
The meeting opened with our Convener welcoming our new branch Vice Convener, Morag Fulton, to her first full meeting in the role. Andy gave a report on general branch activities over the past month. The main work has been local campaigning for a Remain vote in the EU referendum and preparations for next year’s council elections. Conference has been confirmed for 13-15 October: members are encouraged to take part. The deadline for resolutions is 1st July, so if you have anything that you’d like the branch to take forward to Conference, submit it to Andy by email to let the branch officers consider it.
Morag Fulton reported on work to set up a new local group for members with disabilities. This will meet monthly after the summer and focus on helping those with disabilities of any kind to get involved in branch activities. Maureen Bennison is currently contacting various groups to involve more ethnic minorities in the branch.
Jim Thomson reported on the work of the SNP group at Stirling Council. This included pushing for an investigation into the building problems at Balfron High School and campaigning to save Bandeath Dog Shelter. Jim also discussed the City Development Framework, Local Development Plan, and changes to local waste collections.
Lee Robb gave a report on Steven Paterson’s activities as MP. These covered Bandeath Dog Shelter, surgeries around the area, working to relieve the impact of the collapse of Gogar Logistics, and speaking in Westminster on several issues. Today, Steven was speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, pressing the UK Government to stop delaying and meet their promises on funding for new shipbuilding on the Clyde.
Alison Laurie gave a report on Bruce Crawford’s activities since being re-elected as MSP. Things have been very busy in office! Bruce is now convener of SNP group at Holyrood, and sits on the European and External Relations Committee. He has attended several events in constituency as well as local surgeries (with many more planned over the summer), and has also been campaigning for Bandeath. He will soon be meeting First Group with Steven Paterson to discuss proposed changes to local bus services.
SUSNA now have a new committee and are working to campaign for a Remain vote among students.
Reports from the sub-groups were heard. Fundraising will be holding a barbecue at the end of July, and a race night in November.
Some discussion then followed of the EU referendum campaign and the importance of securing a Remain vote in Scotland. 7500 leaflets are being distributed around Stirling and volunteers are sought to help. A stall in the city centre is running on Saturday at 12, and a stall is also planned for Sunday, with Alyn Smith MEP joining us for the day. A targeted letter to local SNP supporters will also be going out. Steven Paterson, just back from Westminster, spoke passionately in favour of Remain and urged members to help.
Jim Thomson then discussed proposed Boundary Commission changes to the Stirling Council wards. This led into a discussion on preparations for the Council elections next year. A Convention will be held at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 25th June 2016, which will let members find out what being a councillor is about. A similar event will be organised locally too in July. It was suggested that members interested in standing for election as councillors go to see some public council meetings to see what that involves.
The meeting then closed: the next one will be on Wednesday 13th July.