A Force For Good held a successful "Union Social" in Glasgow on Saturday 17 November 2018. It was attended by 35 pro-UK supporters. The 5 hour event included a couple of hours of our AFFG Team speaking on our Achievements in 2018 and our Big Plans for 2019.
Our Founder and one of AFFG's Directors, Alistair McConnachie began by emphasising the huge progress which we've made this year in terms of Visibility. Our group got seen a lot this year!
That has also been due to the huge progress in our Branding – which is very colourful and helped by the fact that we're keen to use the striking colours of Red, White and Blue (no pastel shades need apply).
Achievements this Year
Alistair listed many of our Achievements in 2018, which included 9 outdoor events, including recent activism on the streets of Edinburgh in the week previously which saw our 'Scaredy Cat Sturgeon' banner mentioned, and Alistair quoted, in The Times newspaper (15-11-18).
In addition, we attended 7 SNP/ScotNat marches where our activists maintained a colourful and strong ''Counter Presence" for the Union.
Several points arose from these events...
The photograph of AFFG and our Union Jacks - which the separatist-supporting Sunday Herald used on 6 May - sent the SNP and ScotNats into meltdown! Alex Salmond led the boycott of the newspaper which was to bring it down 4 months later. While we don't like to see any newspaper go out of business, this nevertheless demonstrated the power of AFFG, said Alistair.
Our Counter Presence in Dumfries on 2 June made us realise that we could not rely upon the Police to count the marchers properly. (The Police released a figure which we knew was around 3-4 times too high.) Consequently we resolved to record the marches and count them specifically. This has been a major achievement this year.
We are able to counter the SNP/ScotNat propaganda directly by providing visible and transparent evidence to the contrary.
For example, we filmed and counted the true figures, below.
Inverness 28 July. Nats said 14,000. Real figure: 3,386.
Dundee 18 August. SNP MPs said 16,000. Real figure: 3,538.
Dunfermline 1 September Knowing we were counting, they were too afraid to release a figure. Actual figure: 491.
Glasgow 15 September. Knowing we were counting, they were too afraid to release a figure. Actual figure: 314.
Edinburgh 6 October. They said '100,000'. Real figure: 12,789.
This is amazing work that we're doing. Please help us keep doing it!
Alistair also took a few moments to address some of the main "objections" to our Counter Presence events, which we occasionally hear from some pro-UK people.
AFFG's Security and Police Liaison Officer was next to speak.
He emphasised how "My priority is your safety". He explained how he co-ordinated with the appropriate Police officers before the event and on the day. This was absolutely essential so that everyone knew what was going to be happening.
Our experience this year has demonstrated that security improvements can and must be made.
Specifically he pointed out that we need more video coverage of our "Thin Red Line".
For example, our Activists suffered 4 minor assaults in Edinburgh on 6 October, but we had no video coverage of any of these incidents. This is because, at this stage, we have neither the equipment, nor the people willing to step up. Acquiring both is a priority for next year. If you are competent to work with GoPro (it's easy), or similar equipment and want to stand with us, then we need you. Please contact us!
More Achievements in 2018
Alistair continued with the Achievements of AFFG in 2018. These included 3 sit-down Interviews with major European news outlets; our major Speech (and piece of Research) in London, "15 Reasons to be Proud of the United Kingdom"; 2 new Leaflets developed and, importantly, the establishment of AFFG Merchandise.
In that regard, one of the Attendees was wearing his AFFG "British Together" Hoodie at the meeting, and he recounted, to applause, that his bus driver had seen it and shaken his hand this morning!
Further to this work, we also maintain a daily Social Media presence. We publish several quality posts each day on our Facebook Page, including at least one "On This Day", British History post, every day, often with a Scottish Unionist angle.
Our Facebook page is an educational tool in itself; and it's important for kick-starting our Online Campaigns - of which it was mentioned that we've had several this year. So next up to speak was our main Facebook Admin.
Our Facebook Growth
Our main Facebook Admin emphasised the extent to which the Page had grown this year.
Since 1 January we've risen from 10,282 "Likes" (people receiving our daily material) to 23,420 as he spoke, and our goal is 40,000 for the end of 2019. Not only were the "Likes" growing, but the "engagement with the Page" statistics were also doing well.
He also spoke about the importance of maintaining the Page as a "Safe Space" for Unionists.
As he said, we don't tolerate aggressive Scottish Nationalists on the Page. This ensures that pro-UK people know that they can comment safely, knowing they will not be attacked by a nasty opposition.
Big Plans for 2019
Alistair said that next year is likely to be our busiest yet.
In addition to our various regular outside street events, more short videos, and more literature production (we want to get a lot of our substantial material into hard copy for posterity) we'll be aiming to meet and greet the SNP/ScotNat marches throughout Scotland...as usual!
For this level of activism, we need money.
One of the ways we are raising it is via our "Union Supporters" on-going Appeal. We want to find 200 "Union Supporters". That is, 200 people who will commit to paying a minimum of £5 a month (£1.25 a week), every month.
This would give us a modest monthly income which would be enough to cover our basic expenses.
We chose "200" because it is the number of Highlanders on the "Thin Red Line", led by the Glaswegian Sir Colin Campbell, who repelled the overwhelming Russia Cavalry at the Battle of Balaclava. On the street, we call ourselves the "Thin Red Line" because our Branding is red, and we make a brave stand against bigger numbers.
Alistair mentioned that some people may wrongly imagine that reaching such a figure of "200" must be easy! In reality, it is very difficult and will take a while. Unlike SNP and separatist people, most pro-UK people are not compelled by any "revolutionary fervour" to give anything.
At the moment we have 46 signed up "Union Supporters". This, however, has grown from 14 at the beginning of the year, and we are on a trajectory to have 100 by the end of 2019.
Our 2017-2018 Accounts
Next up was our Treasurer – who is also a Director. He explained the Annual Accounts for the period 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018.
Income including one-off and recurring payments = £10,521.12
Expenditure including one-off, recurring and depreciation = £12,358.71
Net Deficit = (-1,837.59)
As he explained, this reflects the cash flow at that particular moment in time, and in reality is carried over to the next Tax Year. He emphasised that we have never got into debt with the bank, nor with anybody, nor do we have any intention of doing so.
We have no salaries or office rent. Our Expenses over these 12 months were broken down as follows:
Retainers for 4 people: £4,260 (35% of Expenses)
Campaign Supplies: £3,636 (29% of Expenses)
Remaining: £4,463 (36% of Expenses). These were spent on Travel, Accommodation, Subsistence, IT Assistance, Stationary and related costs, Legal and Admin, Team Meetings, Venue Hire, Depreciation, and Miscellaneous.
He emphasised that these were extraordinary low figures, which emphasised how well we used our money. For such a modest amount, we have delivered huge value towards keeping the United Kingdom together.
He emphasised that there is a lot of complacency among pro-UK people out there. He noted that waiting until there is a second referendum is far too late in the day to succeed. The time to organise and build up is now, not in the panic of a 3-month campaign!
He emphasised that we are still nowhere near where we need to be as far as security of income is concerned.
That is why our goal of 200 Union Supporters contributing a minimum of £5 a month is so important, and why those who do give are so precious and appreciated!
Without these committed donors, we struggle to cover the basics. (We had to miss one Counter-Presence this year because we did not have the funds to attend!)
The formal part of the event wound up with questions and suggestions from the audience, and several presentations (right) were made to our hard-working activists.
In conclusion it was noted that we've established ourselves in a good place this year, and we're building ourselves into an even better place in the coming year.
Please be part of our journey to keep our United Kingdom together.