“It’s the banks you know, they create new money from nothing and distort the real economy”. I realised at this point that I was shouting at the poor woman, only inches from her face. Passionate as I am about monetary reform it seldom gives me cause to raise my voice quite so much. The cause? A band playing in the next arch from us in the cavernous recesses of the Arches under Glasgow central station. They had a several hundred watts of PA system. We didn’t.
This was our first foray into the running of a Positive Money stall. Nearly defeated by the task of attaching the banner to the table using only string (ample) and our ingenuity (less ample apparently), we were finally ready for the announcement of public doors opening at midday. Hope we don’t get crushed in the rush I thought to myself cynically. I was soon proved wrong, as a perceptible wave of people entered. On a sunny Sunday morning the Festival of the Common Weal was underway. It attracted a crowd of nearly 800 despite being only organised a couple of weeks prior, a not insignificant entry fee and a plethora of sporting options on TV. Billed as a celebration of progressive politics in Scotland, celebrating a vision of what could be ahead of our important decision on the 18th September. Not necessarily Yes aligned, but clearly the opportunities enabled by such an outcome were at the fore for the afternoon.
Despite the sometimes acoustically challenging environment, this was a very successful event for us. We found everyone to be very engaged and many wanted to discuss Positive Money’s proposed reforms in some depth. When we asked if they had heard of Positive Money we found that several said they had, and were already on the mailing list or had been to previous talks. This wasn’t exactly a random sample of the population, but this recognition is encouraging none the less. We collected healthy number of signatures for the Positive Money PM petition and spoke to a few who would like to be involved in a Glasgow Positive Money group, a location currently absent from the local groups map.
Throughout the afternoon there were various talks and discussions, as well as live music, comedy and arts. Friends of the Earth ran talk on Banking for the Planet. Elsewhere there were various discussions on Economics and Investment and Banking. I caught some of the Common Weal Economics track, where the topic of money creation and the control of the money supply was discussed. We were not the only ones discussing this fundamental issue that seems absent from UK politics and indeed the mainstream independence debate. Mostly though we were busy working at the stall. There were several people we hadn’t shouted at yet.
The energy from the event was truly inspiring. I really hope that in the not improbable event of a No in September this can be carried forward. If just a little of this energy and momentum could be put to continued use, such as monetary reform, then we could be closer to a fairer more equitable society.
After 6 hours of engaging discussion we left very exhilarated, if a little exhausted and hoarse.
Scott (right) cracks another of his hilarious monetary reform jokes (Picture: Peter Alvar, Documenting Yes)
Here‘s a short video about the common weal festival featuring a few shots of the positive money stall.
Report by Richard Taylor, Positive Money local group Edinburgh