Be part of the CommonFest artistic project!

We’ve got a really exciting project happening for CommonFest for which we need your help.

Glasgow artist Megan Cecilia Coyle will be created a photo-collage of those attending the event, eventually producing a large interpretation of the Common Weal’s ‘balance’ logo.

To make this happen we need you (or, more specifically, your photo)! If you are attending CommonFest, please send photo of yourself (preferably a head shot) to: and you could become part of an All of Us First artistic project!

RM Hubbert, Alasdair Gray and Loki joining us for #Commonfest

We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to finalise the lineup for CommonFest and are very happy to announce that the bill is now complete!

The night will be opened by wordsmith Alan Bissett.

Our speakers are Common Weal founder Robin McAlpine, the wonderful Elaine C. Smith (a Common Weal Board Member) and the author, artist and all-round great-Scot Alasdair Gray.

Comic relief will be provided by the cutting wit of Vladimir McTavish and Lady Alba’s melodic satire.

On musical duties for the evening we have up-and-coming Glasgow rockers Suspire, David MacGregor from indie-favourites Kid Canaveral, leading Glasgow rapper Loki and 2013 Scottish Album of the Year winner RM Hubbert.

Local artists Katy Christopher, Janie Nicoll, Megan Coyle and Pearl Kinnear will also be there to either display or create work inspired by the ‘All of Us First’ philosophy of Common Weal.

But that’s not all!

We’ll be joined on the night by organisations such as Scottish CND, the Living Rent Campaign and the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network who’ll be manning a number of information and engagement stalls. Common Weal staff will also be manning a booth to provide further information about who we are and what we do (and they might even have some goodies for sale).

Tickets are selling fast and you can get yours here:

The General Election survey results are in

At Common Weal North Glasgow, we believe that the most important role of a politician is to serve his or her constituents. We came up with the idea of talking to each candidate for the North Glasgow constituency in order to find out how they would address our concerns if elected. We hope to do this in the next few weeks and publish our conversations on this site. In order to find out what issues to discuss with them we created a survey which has been completed by 898 people.The survey is now closed but you can see the template here. In this blog we will detail our main results but you can view the raw data using the links below.

We should point out that the survey was open to everyone. So of the 898 people, 101 could be North Glasgow constituents. I say “could” because we asked for the first part of postcodes in order to minimise the amount of personal data collected . After we started collecting data we realised that this is insufficient information to accurately place a person in North Glasgow. This is an error we will learn from for the next time.This withstanding, when we compared the group likely to be from North Glasgow (G11,G12,G20) with the group as a whole, levels of concern and issues raised were broadly similar.

In the main part of the survey, respondents rated their levels of concern in relation to eight key national issues, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = not concerned at all; to 5 = very concerned). The results are summarised in the following graph and you can access the raw data here.

As you’ll see from the chart above, NHS privatisation was the most concerning issue for both North Glasgow and the whole group. In contrast, Immigration was generally reported as “slightly” or “not at all” concerning.

We also asked if there were any other issues that were of concern. As you can see from the raw data sheet here, we had a very broad range of responses. It was not possible to show 57 issues in a meaningful chart (many were only mentioned several times). However, it may be interesting to see the 15 most frequently raised issues in the chart below. You can scroll over the bars for more detail.

As you can see from the chart, the most frequently reported other issue was Constitutional Change. This issue encompassed a range of specific responses including “more local government”, “abolishing the House of Lords”, and “electoral reform”.

Robin McAlpine on the Future of Common Weal

Robin McAlpine on the future of the Common Weal.

Please read, share, and consider contributing.

Robin McAlpine proposes ten changes of mindset to set us on our way

Only by altering the way we see things in general terms can we begin to deliver a fairer society. Robin McAlpine proposes ten changes of  mindset  to set us on our way


For decades politics has been presented as a managerial process in which technocrats run society for the greater good and citizens award them points for success every five years. In 2014 Scotland broke that mould and there are signs of the political system breaking down right across the UK and beyond. We need to redesign politics as something people can understand, care about and be involved in. It isn’t difficult if you want to do it, but it does require that we abandon the corporate-fest that politics has become and talk about our future in a new language.

Read the rest of the article here.

Elaine C. Smith joins the bill for CommonFest!

We have some very exciting news tonight – the absolutely wonderful Elaine C. Smith will be joining the bill for CommonFest! The first batch of tickets are available NOW for £5 (waged) or £2 (unwaged) – more batches will become available over the coming weeks but to avoid disappointment we recommend that you get in there early. The lineup so far (which we’re very, very pleased about) is shown on the new event poster below. A finalised lineup will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

CommonFest poster (2)

The Latest ‘Cash-for-Access’ Scandal Reinforces Just How Broken Britain Really Is

This Little Earth

So now we know: it is “quite unrealistic” to expect MPs – the people elected to represent each one of us – to survive on a meagre £67000 salary. Consequently, we have no business questioning an arrangement where individuals can use the benefits of their public position in order rake in literally thousands of pounds a day in what amounts to yet another ‘cash-for-access’ scandal. Jack Straw is very sorry (that he got caught) and Malcolm Rifkind is simply outraged that members of the public (you know, the people he works for) would have the temerity to suggest that he has done anything wrong. Both have been suspended by their parliamentary parties and will not seek re-election in May, whilst Rifkind has resigned as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Despite all of this, there is no sense that anybody in the corrupt corridors of power really thinks that…

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Dani Garavelli: HSBC exposes Tories’ true colours

This article was written by freelance journalist Dani Garavelli for The Scotsman.

You would have thought the unfolding HSBC scandal made the point brutally enough: that in tax, as every­thing else, there is one law for the rich and another for the poor; that those at the top of the pile will cover for one another, while those at the bottom are screwed.

It’s not as if we could miss the ­contradiction inherent in wealthy individuals hiding millions of pounds of untaxed income in Swiss accounts, while tradespeople face the full force of the law for doing the odd homer. Or that we’d failed to notice the Black and White ball, which saw Tory donors paying £1,500 a ticket, took place the day after the story broke as, elsewhere, food banks struggled to deal with demand and local authorities considered what cuts they’d need to make to meet their austerity budgets.

Still perhaps David Cameron felt our faces weren’t being rubbed in it enough. Because shortly after it emerged HMRC had failed to prosecute Paul Bloomfield – a property tycoon who hadn’t paid tax for 24 years – the government announced it was planning to penalise those who are obese or in the grip of an addiction if they were found to be contributing to their own worklessness by refusing treatment. The proposed cuts to their sickness benefits will yield a tiny amount when set against the millions people like Bloomfield made, but will be enough, no doubt, to tip more ­families into poverty.

Click here to read the full article on the Scotsman website.

Batch 1 of CommonFest Tickets!

It’s finally time – the first batch of tickets for CommonFest are going on sale!

On the 17th of April we are presenting CommonFest, a celebration of Common Weal ideas in the run-up to the General Election on the 7th of May. We’ll be joined by a number of musicians, comedians and speakers including Kid Canaveral (performing an acoustic set), Suspire, Robin McAlpine, Alan Bissett, Lady Alba and Vladimir McTavish, with further acts to be announced over the coming weeks.

A limited number of tickets are being made available in Batch 1 via Eventbrite – further releases will be announced at a later date.

<—|||—Click here to buy your tickets!—|||—>


The Common Weal General Election Survey

Part of our goal at the Common Weal is to encourage enhanced voter engagement, bringing politics to the local level and to normal people. Too often election campaigns are dominated by fear (vote for us because the others are worse), spin, and a procession of politicians telling us what we care most about. In the aftermath of the independence referendum, where people felt more engaged and empowered than ever before, this simply won’t do, so we’ve set out to do things differently.

We’ve produced a survey allowing you to tell us what you really care about, and we’ll be using the information your provide to guide material such as leaflets, articles and questions to representatives. You don’t have to be a Common Weal supporter or a Yes voter to participate – in reality, we want as broad a range of response as possible. After a few weeks we’ll collate the information and publish it, in full and for free, allowing the people of Scotland – and the political parties – to see what matters to local communities across the country.

We’re asking for your help to make this project a success – please complete and survey and share it as widely as possible with as broad a range of people as you can. With information like this we can end the ‘business-as-usual’ approach to politics and put the focus back on people like you, which is precisely where it should be.