We asked some Falkirk branch members who joined The Scottish Green Party in the days and weeks following the Independence Referendum, along with thousands of others across Scotland at the same time, what their experience was of the infamous 'Green Surge'. What prompted them to make the move from being an armchair activist to being a fully engaged member of a political party?
"Surge; deluge; flood; flow; growth; outpouring; rise; swell; wave; billow; breaker; efflux; gush; intensification; roll; surf.
My life as a Green Surger has been all of these so far.
Deluge and flood sound like tragic, catastrophic events, which was how I felt post-indyref, all hope swept away.
I picked the Greens because they represent a collaborative, positive movement, an inspiring counterpoint to the nasty outpouring of both unionist and nationalist rhetoric, pre- and post-ref. Falkirk Greens are the best of this, and if they hadn’t been so keen, kind, rational and downright determined, I would have reverted to type and keep out of sight.
Joining the committee was never in the plan, but now that I’ve nailed my colours to the mast, I feel like I’ve got to wave them about as much as possible. That’s the Falkirk Greens all over.
I don’t think anyone can argue there hasn’t been a flow of people towards ongoing political engagement. Some talk of genies and bottles; others a growth in awareness. Whatever your metaphor, it’s not going away. "
Lindsay Williams, Falkirk Greens Secretary
"Apart from a fairly lengthy pause (roughly equivalent to Tony Blair’s period as PM!), I had been a member of the Labour Party since October 1983. Increasingly, however, this had been because of tribal loyalty, not because they held my beliefs. 2 things – London interference in the selection process in Falkirk and the referendum campaign, with a distinctly unpalatable attitude towards Yes voters being held by many I had considered as Labour Party ‘friends’, weakened that loyalty to breaking point. September 20, 2014 and it was broken. It had been clear for a while that my political views aligned more with the Green Party. I just hadn’t made the move, but finally, I did!
And what a contrast – meetings of numbers great than I had ever encountered within Falkirk Labour, of smiles and enthusiasm. A politics clearly to the left of Labour, but a politics which attract people to meetings, not turn them away. Have I been involved actively since? Not as much as I'd like. A couple of years of sitting on the exec in the local Labour Party turned me off of activity, but if ever there was a party to get involved with, this is it!"
Brian Capaloff, Falkirk Greens member
"Radical Democracy is what drew me to the Scottish Green Party in the first place, the idea that people could make policy rather than politicians – how liberating! Reading more about policy, what the Scottish Greens stand for, I found a party that not only puts the environment at the heart of politics but also stands for equality, justice and a fairer society for all. Needless to say, I signed up.
On the 19th of September 2014 I officially joined the Scottish Green Party, I had never joined a political party before, I had no idea what to expect, but I felt I had to do something, I couldn’t just sit back and watch any more.Later that month I went along to my first branch meeting, I found a group of people who all felt the same way as I did; I wasn’t the only one who felt this way!
Fast forward a few months down the line and here I am, treasurer of Falkirk Greens, a list candidate for the Central Scotland region, I’ve never felt so empowered. Yes, there’s a lot of work involved, but there are lots of fun things too! If you’re considering joining in, go for it! Come along to a meeting, join one of our events, get involved, I look forward to seeing you soon!"
Mari Ellena Corvi - Falkirk Greens Treasurer
"The surprise of the Green Surge, is that it’s not a surge, one of the definitions of a surge is a temporary upward movement. Yes, as a party we've moved up and gained some prominency but we're hardly fading away or falling back down. There’s no temporariness about our increased popularity, on the contrary our own branch in Falkirk has gone from being a sub branch with a few members to becoming a full branch with well attended meetings, campaign activity and a membership that increases month on month. I’ve not been as involved as I’d like, sometimes work gets in the way but I do pop up to the stall on the High Street at the weekend for a wee chat and I go to the monthly branch meetings. All in all I’m happy with how things are going for the Scottish Greens and the part I play within it. I'm looking forward to the next few months, our next step is to gain green MSP's and Councillors within our area. "
Verity Kyle, Falkirk Greens member
"I had absolutely no interest in politics before the referendum, it was just noise in the background, saying lots but achieving very little. After hearing Patrick Harvie talk on Question Time in Falkirk Town Hall, I realised I agreed with everything he was saying. His words spoke to me. He sounded…normal, sensible, not like any other politician I’d heard.
Convinced we were heading for a Yes vote, I was gutted to wake up on the 19th Sept to the result we did and after watching Yes voters in their droves try to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, find each other on social media and vow to continue, I realised I could no longer sit by and be part of the silent majority. I realised that politics could be different, it could be for us, if we made it so. So I joined the only party making any sense, I joined the Scottish Greens.
2 months later I was co-convener of the new Falkirk branch, 6 months after that I joined the national elections and campaigns committee, I’m on several internal national working groups and every month our team in Falkirk are working hard and driving our branch to be bigger and better. In under a year the Green Surge has taken me from someone with zero experience and interest in politics to an engaged community activist and one of the biggest/best results is the new friends I’ve made along the way. Thig Ar Latha!"
Lisa Coverdale, Co-Convener, Falkirk Greens
Have you considered joining us? We meet the first Thursday of every month in Falkirk Town Centre.