Following Nicola Sturgeon’s recent announcement of the intention to start putting procedures for a second referendum on Scottish independence before the Scottish Parliament, around thirty people from a wide cross section of society (mostly from Scotland but also from other parts of Europe and the US) met on 25 May 2017 to have a facilitated conversation (under the Chatham House rule) at the Grassmarket Centre, on the topic: “What is the most appropriate date to hold another independence referendum? And what would the question be?”
The first part of the conversation was designed to focus on the most effective way to conduct this sort of conversation, with the second part focused more on the substance of the issue. One of the early lessons was how hard it is to keep discussion of process, substance and context apart and there were elements of each woven in throughout the evening. People needed to express themselves early on about how they felt about the real issues and our process needed to accommodate that.