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Branch News

BO’NESS SNP URGES SUPPORTERS TO REGISTER FOR A POSTAL VOTE

The Bo’ness branch of the SNP has recently launched its campaign to promote registering to vote and registering for a postal vote amongst SNP and independence supporters ahead of the Scottish election on the 6th of May. The campaign has been endorsed by the SNP candidate for East Falkirk, Michelle Thomson.

The branch has stated that the most important reasons for registering for a postal vote is to keep yourself safe from COVID-19, and to make sure that your vote counts, as postal voters are more likely to cast their ballot than those who vote conventionally. If you forget to post your ballot back in time, you can hand it in to your normal polling station on polling day.

Further to this, when you register for a postal vote, you can opt for it to be recurring – so this helps to build strong SNP and Yes turnouts for the future as well. This is why it’s important to encourage your SNP supporting friends and family to register for a postal vote – particularly when you are not entirely sure they always vote!

You can register to vote by clicking this link, and find the form for applying for a postal vote here.

If you have issues printing the form, please get in touch with Bo’ness branch, and we will get one out to you. 

This campaign will be extremely digitally focussed and COVID compliant, with campaign videos, graphics and endorsements from notable people in the community going out on the local branches social media channels. To see these as they come out, you can like and follow Bo’ness SNP’s various social media channels, available here, with more information below.

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Campaign news

SNP candidate for Falkirk East to host Q&A with current MSP

At 3:30pm this coming Sunday, (21st) SNP candidate for Falkirk East Michelle Thomson is scheduled to host a question and answer session with the current SNP MSP for the area, Angus MacDonald.

In a statement on Facebook, Michelle has invited people from across the constituency, which includes Bo’ness, Grangemouth, Tryst and the Braes among others, to comment on the below Facebook post with a question. If you are not a Facebook user, please use the ‘contact’ page on Bo’ness SNP’s website, and we will get your question to Michelle.

The event will discuss SNP achievements locally and nationally, local hopes for the future and what Michelle and Angus can do to support them.

With 80 days until the Scottish election to go, the SNP’s core message this time is simple – Scotland’s Future is Scotland’s Choice.

Further details to follow, you can join Michelle and Angus on any of the following pages at 3:30pm on Sunday 21st.

Michelle Thomson https://www.facebook.com/MichelleThomsonSNP
Angus MacDonald MSP https://www.facebook.com/AngusMacdonaldSNP
John McNally MP https://www.facebook.com/JohnMcNallySNP
Martyn Day MP https://www.facebook.com/MartynDaySNP
Independence Live https://www.facebook.com/IndyLiveStream

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Monthly Update

Bo’ness SNP monthly update – January 2021

Welcome to our monthly update for January 2021. We hope that you are optimistic about the coming year.

As mentioned in our previous post, it goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has effected us all. If you feel you would benefit from assistance from one of your elected SNP representatives, please visit the “representatives” page on this website, which contains contact details for Bo’ness’ MP and MSP, and our local SNP councillor.

Firstly, we’d like to thank our two new members this month for joining us – Meghan and Michelle. We always appreciate new members, and we like to regularly keep in touch via email.

This month, there has been a lot of behind the scenes build up for the election campaign in May – the first of which I will mention at the end of this article.

Our initial activity this month was the launch of the History page on our new website. This page was very popular with local History groups in Bo’ness – with over 150 locals viewing the page from Facebook in one day. Our website has attracted over 500 individual visitors since the new year – the most we’ve had in one month so far. Our site now has a regular daily viewership.

We are grateful to have gotten coverage in the local paper, and an excellent spread in ‘The National’ newspaper for this timeline, pictured below.

As well as this local and national newspaper coverage, our work was picked up on by high-profile SNP politicians such as Alyn Smith MP, and our excellent candidate for the Scottish Parliament election, Michelle Thomson.

You can read the Bo’ness Journals story, and The National newspapers story in full by clicking the respective hyperlinks.

Breaking in the year with this popular story has set us in good stead for what will be a very digital election campaign.

As part of this campaign, we will soon be launching a campaign to motivate SNP supporters in Bo’ness to register for a postal vote.

We are living in extremely uncertain times – our situation is changing regularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we do know that the Scottish Parliament election will be held on May the 6th.

We are asking our supporters to register for a postal vote to ensure you don’t miss your once-every-five-years chance to make your voice heard. If you register for a postal vote, you will receive your ballot around two weeks before polling day, and you can then fill it in as you like. If you are not able to post it back in time, you are able to hand it in to your local polling station on polling day. This is simply the securest way to vote.

Beyond this, registering for a postal vote and asking your friends to register for a postal vote (particularly those who are SNP/YES voters but don’t always vote!) is one of the best ways you can build momentum for strong SNP/YES turnouts in future elections. This is because you can opt to receive a postal ballot in future elections too.

You’ll be hearing more from us over the coming month about registering for a postal vote, which you can do by clicking this link.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with a short video message from our candidate at this election, Michelle Thomson, on the importance of registering for a postal vote, and how to do so. The video is followed by quotes from Bo’ness SNP members about the importance of postal voting.

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History

Bo’ness SNP launches new History timeline

On Saturday (2nd January) Bo’ness Branch SNP launched its new online timeline, which covers the history of Scottish Nationalism in the town, from 1944 until present.


Going far beyond the history of the SNP itself, the timeline looks at the wide variety of groups located in Bo’ness which helped bring about the Scottish Parliament – the Scottish Covenant of the 1950’s, the ‘Bo’ness Rebels’ Ceilidhs and Songbooks of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the impact that historic events such as the return of the Stone of Scone had in Bo’ness.


It is shown in this multimedia timeline that many key figures in the Scottish Literary revival, such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Hamish Henderson and Norman MacCaig regularly attended events in Bo’ness, with their portraits hanging on the wall of the now demolished Lea-rig bar.


The timeline also provides footage and photos of commemorated Bo’ness Councillors such as John and Harry Constable.


The timeline was aided by the help of many locals who were happy to share information via local History groups on Facebook, research in old newspapers, work in archives, and reading of other works which have looked to Bo’ness as a key site in the folk revival in Scotland. The timeline also benefitted hugely from appeals for information being shared in local and national newspapers.


Commenting, Bo’ness Branch Vice-convener David Mitchell, who designed the page said :

“I am delighted to share with people this new, informative page on our website. While the page obviously does have a political focus, this history stretches far beyond just the SNP, and into Scottish Nationalism in the broadest sense. 


There is in here so much to learn about local history – the lea-rig bar for example is a regular mention, as is the strong history of SNP councillors in Bo’ness, which is well commemorated locally, with a street in the town being named after Councillors John and Harry Constable.


The help we have received in doing this has been wonderful – people of all political persuasions have come together to aid this research, and we have in some cases helped others learn a bit more about their own family history, and about their town. 


This is in many ways a good local reflection on national changes in Scotland over the past century. Those who have read James Robertson’s “And the Land Lay Still” will find in this timeline a real-world re-telling of the changes Scotland has seen since the Second World War.


It would be fascinating to hear similar histories of other political traditions in the town”

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Monthly Update

Bo’ness SNP monthly update – December 2020

As this is our second monthly update, and the final one for 2020, we would like to offer our reflections on the activities of the Bo’ness SNP over the past month, and over the year as a whole. 

But before we begin, we would also like to welcome our new member this month, Marcela. Bo’ness SNP is very proud to currently have 205 members.

As mentioned in our previous post, it goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has effected us all in some way. If you feel you would benefit from assistance from one of your elected SNP representatives, please visit the “representatives” page on this website, which contains contact details for Bo’ness’ MP and MSP, and our local SNP councillor. 

Over the past month, Bo’ness SNP has continued to contribute to the campaign for Michelle Thomson to become Falkirk East’s MSP next year. We’ve continued to build up Michelle’s profile, as we know how important social media and other forms of publicity are going to be in this election. We will be hearing and sharing more from Michelle and her predecessor Angus in the months to come. 

Similarly, Falkirk East Constituency Association’s calendar fundraiser was a huge success, and sets Michelle’s campaign in good stead for the year ahead. It is understood that Falkirk East CA will make another calendar next year. Bo’ness SNP will once again be playing a large part in this. 

In terms of looking at the year as a whole, last months update already does a great deal of explaining what Bo’ness SNP has been doing during this extremely challenging year.

I would like to share a further update on the success of our website :

Bo’ness SNP’s website has had:

1,359

Views

400

Individual Visitors

The website continues to grow in functionality – our new “History” section will be completed in the new year, as will better options for donations, and the SNP’s new system for registering support will be made available through this website when it launches in February.

It goes without saying that this year has been challenging. So let’s leave it on a message of hope.

Over 2020 Scottish Independence has become, for the first time, the preferred option of a majority of Scots. There has now been 17 consecutive opinion polls which show this reality.

Independence is ours for the taking – but first we need a referendum.

Bo’ness SNP is committed to supporting SNP candidates who will support Scotlands’ right to choose its own future.

Regardless of whether a person is for or against independence, it is the right of the people who live in Scotland to make that decision.

So let’s make that happen.

Categories
Monthly Update

Bo’ness SNP monthly update – November 2020

This is the first of our monthly updates – a new way for Bo’ness SNP to share what we’ve been doing over the past month.

As this is the first of these, it’s important to share some broader updates too. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has effected us all in some way. If you feel you would benefit from assistance from one of your elected SNP representatives, please visit the “representatives” page on this website, which contains contact details for Bo’ness’ MP and MSP, and our local SNP councillor. 

Like everyone else, Bo’ness SNP has also had to adapt to the current situation. We now hold our monthly branch meetings over MS teams, as you can see in the photo below. Please contact us if you’d like more information.

Firstly, I’d like to extend a welcome to the new members that have joined since the last membership newsletter – welcome Stephen, Emma-Louise, Thomas, Susan, Lindsay, Jason, Allan, Ian, Jaime, Jonathon, Forbes, Derek, Laura and Ross to the Branch.

Towards the end of October, a selection contest was held to decide who would contest the Falkirk East constituency for the SNP in next May’s Scottish election. Following a fair and rigorous internal election between four immensely strong candidates, Michelle Thomson was chosen by local members. Michelle is the former spokesperson of Business for Scotland, and also a former MP for Edinburgh West. Bo’ness SNP would like to send our congratulations to Michelle, and commiserations to the other candidates. We know next years election will be different, but it’s good to see Michelle and Bo’ness SNP already making headlines!

Over the past few months, we have also managed to consolidate our online presence via the use of our new website. This new site has allowed us to share lengthier articles on our main social media channels, as well as providing a central sharing point for our well established Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We have also recently created a new YouTube channel, for centrally hosting all of our videos, and a Snapchat account, to ensure we are at the cutting edge of all social media platforms. The website provides all the contact details for the branch, and also for all of the SNP’s elected representatives in the area. We are also working on a timeline feature which will offer insight into the history of the branch and the independence movement in Bo’ness, which will be updated until completion in the new year. For an example of the history work that has been done, please see the below video, from our Youtube channel.

As you can see, there is important groundwork being done just now ahead of next May’s election. Another important part of this, particularly at the current time, is finding new ways to fundraise. It was decided by Falkirk East’s constituency association that a calendar would be sold to raise funds, following a photography competition which took place in October. Like every other branch in Falkirk East, Bo’ness SNP has this month been given an allocation of 25 to sell. These are going fast, so please look at the article on this site if you’d like to find out more information about how to buy one. 

That’s it for November – have a Merry (and safe) Christmas, and we will have another update for you at the end of December.

Categories
Branch News

FALKIRK EAST CONSTITUENCY ASSOCIATION CALENDARS FOR 2021 – OUT NOW!

Ahead of next years Scottish Election, Falkirk East SNP’s constituency association has undertaken designing a calendar with the intention to sell to raise funds. 

The calendar features 12 photos from across the constituency, which were submitted by local SNP members over the month of October – with many of the pages being sponsored, by councillors, SNP branches, individuals and businesses. See below :

These calendars are priced at £10 each, but are VERY LIMITED. Each branch (including Bo’ness) has an allocation of just 25. Almost 10 of Bo’ness’ allocation have already been purchased.

There are four branches within Falkirk East SNP – Bo’ness, Tryst, Braes and Grangemouth.

If you’d like to buy a calendar, or have any further inquiries, please message our social media pages, or email : BonessSNP@Gmail.com

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Branch News

MICHELLE THOMSON ANNOUNCED AS NEW SNP CANDIDATE FOR EAST FALKIRK

The list of new SNP candidates to contest constituencies across Scotland in next May’s Scottish election was released on Friday. 

Following a selection process which saw SNP members across East Falkirk choosing from a list of four extremely capable candidates, former MP for Edinburgh West and spokesperson for ‘Business for Scotland’, Michelle Thomson was chosen by members. 

In a statement on Facebook, Michelle said

 Delighted to have been nominated as the SNP candidate for Falkirk East. Thank you to my fellow candidates (Laura Murtagh, Cecil Meicklejohn and Sue Friel) for such a great competition and to SNP Braes, Bo’ness SNP, Grangemouth SNP and SNP Tryst Branch for their contribution, to our other councillors (too numerous to tag) and our elected SNP parliamentarians for their support.  Now the real work starts – we need to ensure we return another Scottish National Party (SNP) MSP and we focus absolutely on the core principles : independence and the furtherance of all Scottish interests.”

Michelle Thomson

Next years Scottish election will take place on Thursday the 6th of May.

Bo’ness SNP would like to send our congratulations to Michelle, and commiserations to the other candidates and would like to wish them well for the future. We look forward to all that they will do for Scotland.

The full list of candidates can be found here : https://www.snp.org/the-snps-candidates-for-the-2021-scottish-parliament-election/

Categories
Opinion

Bo’ness SNP calls for fair furlough provision for Scotland

The recent issues regarding furlough provision in Scotland prove that Scotland is an afterthought as far as the UK Government is concerned. 

During the initial lockdown, the furlough scheme preserved 374,000 Scottish jobs according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This shows that the furlough scheme was essential to protect Scottish jobs. 

As countries around the world begin to enter restrictions similar to those that took place during the spring, furlough must be re-introduced to protect jobs. The SNP has always advocated for the UK Government to extend the furlough scheme beyond the initial October deadline, or to give the Scottish Parliament the financial power to do so itself.

Unsurprisingly, these calls fell on deaf ears in Westminster – until it became clear that further lockdown measures would be necessary in the south of England. At the same press conference in which an England-only lockdown was announced, so too was an extension to furlough across the UK – for at least as long as a lockdown continued in England. 

However, it is still not clear if the furlough scheme would continue in the devolved nations if a lockdown was to become necessary outside of England only. This is despite inquiries from the press, Scottish cabinet secretary for finance Kate Forbes, and first minister Nicola Sturgeon. This is vital as COVID cases in Scotland – as across Europe – are unfortunately rising rapidly.

Aside from all the political theatrics of the past few days, let’s take a step back to consider the consequences of this uncertainty for the Scottish people. In short, this may mean that Scotland could be obligated to go into a lockdown sooner than necessary, in order to access the furlough scheme to project jobs. Conversely, it means that the UK Government will put Scottish jobs at risk if a Scottish lockdown is deemed necessary at a time when the furlough scheme is not available. Further to this, if the Scottish Government should judge that a lockdown is not feasible in the absence of a furlough scheme, then the over-reaching power of the UK Government may have put public health in Scotland at risk.

This is why the SNP will continue to push for definitive clarity on this issue from the UK government, not just warm words from senior Tory politicians.

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Office Bearers message

A message from Bo’ness SNP’s convener

Bo’ness SNP AGM – Written on September 2nd 2020

Well, who would have thought 2020 would have been like this?  Since the last AGM, there have been highs and lows for the branch and our members and probably the most testing times of our lifetime.

We must start with the biggest high in the election of Martyn in December.  When the election was announced, I’m sure many were like me and dreaded the thought of campaigning through cold winter months.  We were also stung with the national election result in 2017 and although polling was looking decent, we could not risk thinking the result was in the bag.

I was really impressed with the branch pulling together and supporting Martyn’s campaign.  There was a good buzz about the branch and that was repeated on the doors and on polling day itself.  I personally would never of thought standing outside Fisons for hours on end on a bitterly cold December day would have been so enjoyable!

Well done to everyone who was involved and every bit of the spare time you gave up was appreciated by all and helped deliver such a great result.

The bounce from that election has continued and polling is continuing to be as strong as it has ever been.  With a Holyrood election in 2021, I hope we can keep up this effort as this election looks to be the most pivotal in the push towards Independence.

We have now seen the candidates who have put themselves forward and I look forward to what should be an interesting contest and I am sure our Branch will challenge all candidates with our usual forthright questions!

I don’t want to spend too much time on Covid as you’re probably all sick to the back teeth about it!  However, this has impacted the normal functions of the branch, with meetings now online and very little opportunity to socialise.  Campaigning in the normal sense is also on hold.

We don’t know what the future will hold but we will need to continue to adapt as we go forward, and I am sure as a branch we will embrace this change and lead across the constituency.

We are still living in strange times, please do not hesitate to reach out to your fellow branch members if you need the support.

On a personal note, it has again been a privilege to be your Convenor for another year. 

Alan Gilbert

Convenor – Bo’ness Branch