Not long back from our first Members Day in Inveraray. And what a day it was. As it was our first such venture, we had set ourselves a target of getting approximately 40 members along to kick-start the event.
Although I organised the event, this wasn’t my day. I wasn’t hosting it or leading the discussion. It was a day for the SNP members in Argyll & Bute to discuss, plan, organise and prepare for the future.
The meeting was due to start at 1300 and I couldn’t believe it when we turned up at 1200 to set up the rooms, there were already a couple of dozen folk waiting.
I knew then we were going to exceed the target. But folk just kept arriving until by 1300 there were far too many folk to fit in the room and we had to hurriedly organise a bigger room. Even then, there were folk left standing outside in the corridor.
We had Branch representatives from Oban, Mid-Argyll, Tarbert, Campbeltown, Islay, Strachur, Holy Loch, Dunoon, Bute, Lomond North and Helensburgh.
No one managed an accurate headcount but judging by the group photograph and the fact that not everyone joined in the photo, a conservative estimate put the figure of 140 SNP members. Astonishing!
I was delighted that Jim Mather, our former MSP could come along to facilitate the day and Mind Map the results.
Jim’s work in this area is amazing and before the large group broke down into six smaller groups, he outlined the broad themes to be discussed.
The whole idea of the day was to give members the chance to discuss in small groups a variety of themes; why have we been successful in Argyll & Bute, what is our purpose, what are we good at, what do we need to get better at doing and how do we deliver Argyll & Bute at the next independence referendum.
Following lively and lengthy discussions, all the groups fed back into a plenary session. The results were fascinating and once Jim has tidied up his Mind Map, I will distribute it to every member of the party in the constituency.
Ideally, this will lead to a more in-depth discussion at branches over the coming weeks with branches then feeding back their thoughts; thoughts that will inform the agenda for when we next meet.
The day was completed by the excellent Paul Kavanagh and his (not so) Wee Ginger Dug. Paul’s hilarious and insightful talk was the perfect was to round off a fantastic day.
The folk who were there agreed to hold our next Members Day on January 14th 2018, again in Inveraray.
I’m delighted to tell everyone that a booking has been made and we will have the next Members Day on Sunday January 14th 1300-1700 at the Inveraray Inn.
I’d like to put on record my thanks to the management and staff of the Loch Fyne Hotel. Without their enormous goodwill, cheerfulness and willingness to help, this afternoon could have been chaotic. We catered for 40…they got 140. Nothing was too much trouble for them and I am very, very grateful for all they did. But and I’m sure anyone who was there today will agree, if we get similar numbers in January, we will need a bigger room.
Finally, thank you to every single SNP Member in Argyll & Bute who came along this afternoon. I hope you enjoyed it and found it as useful as I did.
See you on January 14th…and why not bring a friend.
All the best