Doing Politics Differently
The Report of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland

Chapter Six: Reflections on the Assembly – members' diaries


The final word on the Assembly must come from members themselves. The Assembly has been an extraordinary journey for everyone involved, and its influence should spread far wider, providing the opening words of a new chapter for democracy in Scotland. We asked members to set out in their own words who they are, why they agreed to get involved, what the experience has meant to them and what they hope will be achieved as a result. These are the responses, in members own words. They speak for themselves and provide powerful testimony. They are essential voices to be listened to by politicians and everyone else concerned with Scotland's future and who is committed to working as one to find common ground and move forward together whilst respecting different views. Over 100 citizens spent over a year doing exactly that and they have set out an agenda for action and a way of working for others to follow.

Ibraaheem Khan

Ibraaheem Khan

I am a Scottish Asian medical student in his final year. Originally from Glasgow but have been living in Aberdeen for the last 5+ years.

I was curious and excited to see what being an Assembly member would mean. I have always enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their stories and this gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

I will remember the stories I heard from people all over Scotland and getting an idea what there different lives are like. People live vastly complex and beautiful lives. And due to our differences we have different needs and desires.

I want to see more accountability of politicians and big companies as a result of the Assembly. Increase engagement with the public and get them involved into politics.

Jamie Donaldson

Jamie Donaldson

I live in Aberdeen with my wife, we have 5 children, I work as an occupational health assistant in mental health.

I agreed to become a member because I felt I had a wide knowledge of current issues that affect everyday life. The most memorable part has been meeting people from every walk of life, meeting the political parties and putting questions to them.

I have learned so much over the session but most of all what a diverse nation we are and what we find important going forward as a nation. I want to see more citizens assemblies so that more people can get involved in shaping our nation going forward.

Dennis Ashcroft

Dennis Ashcroft

I'm a 57 year old male from Glasgow. I'm married with a grown up son. I was a heavy goods driver for most of my adult life. I am currently unemployed due to long running depression.

I was delighted to be asked to be a member of the citizens assembly, for Scotland. Scotland is a wonderful country and has lots to offer the world. It's an honour to have an opportunity to do something positive for Scotland and its people.

The positivity of the members throughout will stick with me for a long time, I've met some wonderful people from all walks of life. What I found out was that most of us agreed on the important issues even with our different political views.

I've learned so much about Scotland and how welcoming we are to people from other parts of the world. I've learned to listen to others point of view and respect them for that. I've learned in my view that Scotland needs more powers to make a real difference in our country.

I desperately want Scotland to be an independent country and be able to make the right decisions for Scotland.

David Farrell

David Farrell

I live just outside Falkirk in a rural setting. I used to do joinery work but gave it up due to health reasons, I'm a keen angler and love debates too.

I agreed to become a member because I felt I could have an impact on the way Scotland should move forward. I thought about the opportunities it would lead to and hoped I could help make a difference to the way politics was dividing the soul of our country because I felt the people weren't getting heard.

The most memorable part has been meeting like-minded people with the same goals, to help build a better Scotland. I also enjoyed the healthy discussions with members in the social environment of the hotel. Listening and learning from such a diverse group of people who all had a common interest.

I have noticed that my opinions of how we move forward are shared by many members both older and younger than me. This tells me that I'm not too far off in the balanced view I have to develop a better Scotland for all ages. I've learned a lot about the people we shared groups with, their own stories about their communities had a common thread running through them. That is no matter which part of Scotland we live on, there needs to be change and support everywhere.

Mainly I want a responsible government to be held to account if they fail to meet manifesto promises. Invest in the poverty issues and rights of realistic fair pay structures in accord with ongoing inflation. Appropriate new tax laws to stop wealthy tax companies avoiding paying their fair share of revenue made on the back of tax paying Scots purchasing their products.

I would love to see Scotland thrive towards a brighter future for young people to help them achieve the maximum potential they can in life. Also I hope this assembly has laid the foundation stones for further voices to be heard within the parliaments in the future regardless of party politics. The assembly members represent all parties so this in turn means it represents all the people of Scotland.

Charlotte Beagley

I am 41, I live in Edinburgh and am not working due to long term illness. I felt this was such an amazing opportunity, once in a lifetime. And that I could not refuse to take part.

I enjoyed listening to the various speakers, I enjoyed meeting new people from different parts of the country, from different walks of life, I absolutely loved the zoom sessions!!!

I have learned that the citizens of Scotland all agree we need a fairer, sustainable and better Scotland and the people need more say. I want to see our vision statements accepted and acted upon. I want to see Scotland and its citizens and future generations thrive.

Shirley Marzella

Shirley Marzella

I am a Freelance Artist living in New Lanark. I was born and raised in Shotts, before moving to Lanark just before my daughter was born. I travel around the Central belt, giving art workshops and working as a Scenic Artist for Film, TV & Theatre.

I agreed to become a member because I was very curious, and positively intrigued about the whole idea. The thought that normal citizens could actually have a say, in politics!

The most memorable part has to be the opening weekend reception held in Edinburgh Castle's Great Hall! I felt as though I was part of something historic! I also felt somewhat empowered, witnessing our vision statements coming together, projected onto the screens.

I have learned, with pride that our people want kindness, fairness and tolerance, to be the norm in Scotland. However, I have also learned that the Assembly was never going to be allowed to make any real constitutional change. It had the (historic) potential to be brave, hard hitting and gutsy. But after COVID-19, all the fire from our bellies was removed, and we were left with lists of weak generalisations. All very nice and placated, with no punch. Very disappointing.

I really do agree with the premise of Assemblies, as they reflect a true cross section of society. Their ideas & opinions should be an integral part of the Scottish Parliament. I would be interested in Assemblies of other countries, meeting and comparing government policies, to devise a more holistic and global way of solving the world's problems.

Janette McBain

Janette McBain

I stay in Glasgow with my husband I have worked as a catering manager for 40 years a job I love & fills me with passion My family are the most important people in my life and I love spending time just hanging out chatting and having fun with all my nieces and nephews over 30 of them.

I became a member because I thought it's a once in a life time opportunity and to be part of such an iconic group is just wonderful I have learned so much about politics, friendships and other cultures.

The most memorable moment was Edinburgh castle – wow, I will never forget that night. A memory that will last a lifetime. I just felt so honoured to be in this beautiful castle with so many fantastic speakers. The atmosphere was electric.

I have learned about other cultures, that we all have a voice irrespective of our position or job every one matters in this process and united we can achieve great things through listening to everyone's opinions and agreeing through the process to get a final result.

I want people to be more understanding of other options, beliefs, and culture. Together we can make Scotland a country we are all proud of, our country to flourish and everyone, no matter their status, can enjoy peace, love, and harmony together, with a better understanding of our beautiful country.

John Punshon

John Punshon

I am 77 years old and live with my wife Mary-Jo in the Lanarkshire area. I retired from my work as a Social Work Manager approx. 12 years ago.

When I was asked if I would like to be part of the Citizens Assembly, I gladly accepted. Having been told an outline of what the assembly would be working on I felt it was an excellent opportunity to contribute to how the future of Scotland could possibly be shaped.

The first meeting of the assembly was very memorable. Meeting fellow members for the first time was exciting and going to the great hall in Edinburgh castle was the icing on the cake. The continuing work with the members and the support staff was most enjoyable and challenging.

Listening to the views of other members was, for me, a big learning curve. It seemed to me all of the members I worked with were willing to express their views during discussions and accept the views of others. This, I believe, made reaching a consensus possible.

There is a number of changes I hope the work of the Assembly will help to facilitate, including more help for the poor e.g. housing, benefits and support. A fairer tax system would go a long way to help this happen. Investing in renewable energy etc. would help make Scotland a cleaner country for its citizens. There is many other issues that I believe need addressed to make Scotland fit for the safety of future generations.

Kirsty Hutcheson

Kirsty Hutcheson

I live and work in East Renfrewshire. I am an additional support needs teacher. I became a member because I felt it was important for Scottish people's opinions about Scotland to be heard and I wanted to learn more about the running of our country.

The most memorable thing was meeting a wide variety of the people of Scotland, listening and sharing views and learning from professionals.

I've learned a lot more about Scotland's devolved powers and their limitations. I now know more about taxation than I previously did and have discovered I am very passionate about environmental issues.

Having learned about the possibilities of environmental developments in Scotland I would like to see Scotland be pioneers in this area.

Lynsay Walton

Lynsay Walton

I am a 62 year old Scottish working class wifie. I am a cleaner and live in Arbroath. I have 2 sons, 4 grandsons and 2 granddaughters. I am divorced. I enjoy a good night out with friends or family and I love to travel when I can.

When I first heard about the Scottish assembly, I was interested and intrigued and a wee bit nosy. It goes without saying, I love Scotland and if I could be a part of this intriguing event ... then I'm definitely saying YES.

I've enjoyed the whole process ... from our introduction night out at Edinburgh castle, to listening to experts and guests ... helping to understand more about Scotland than I did before. I've also really enjoyed getting to know a lot more of my fellow Scots from different backgrounds and different parts of Scotland. Then the pandemic came along to test us, and it wasn't a problem for our fantastic secretariat, facilitators etc. We went digital! Wow, no bad for an old wifie lol.

I've learned to listen! Let others talk and be willing to change my mind. Though I still like to have my wee say too. I've learned about the Scottish tax system, the difference between 6 train stations in Glasgow [an illustration of social inequality] .. being poorest to richest. I've learned about happiness is very important as part of keeping our mental health .. healthy. I've learned we have a great country ... but we have a lot to work on and work out.

I want to see Scotland rid of poverty. I would like to see a living wage, helping people to get out of poverty. I would like to see more social housing as i believe everyone should have a roof over their head!! And i would like to see the NHS be top priority and not let the privatisation of our NHS come in through either the front or the back door!!!

James Ramsey

James Ramsey

I stay in Hamilton and work in the care field that I enjoy very much as you're dealing with individuals who have lost their way and their identity in life so a kind word or a bit of advice can go a long way in helping them begin the journey of getting there lives back on track because believe me it so easy to wander onto the wrong path but a lot harder to try and get back onto the right path so I believe it's essential to go into your job with a positive attitude and listen, learn, and help and offer advice and try to find a solution to each individual you are working with.

I agreed to become a member to be hopefully part of something that is going to make a difference and could possibly without over exaggerating become part of Scotland's great historical past and present and me, little James Ramsey from Hamilton, could have helped in making Scotland a safer, more united place to be and to be part of that is absolutely incredible and watching everyone come together as at the start it was a group of strangers.

It was memorable watching and being part of something that was basically unfolding before your very eyes different age groups putting their opinions across and actually being listened you could actually see people grow with confidence as the months went by and I hope that inspired people because I know it certainly inspired me the longer it went the more I enjoyed watching people's confidence and bloom in front of you and this was evident especially in the younger generation who we're probably out of there comfort zone but as the weeks and months passed I believe we were then inspiring each other in our individual groups or as a unit.

I've learned to listen to people's opinions and not be judgemental as one thing I definitely learned was that once everyone had given their opinion it was brilliant to watch people or individuals say “hold on I actually would like to rethink what I've just said”, then as a group we would break everything down bit by bit then as a group would come up with something that we all had an input on what was going to be our goal to go forward. Honestly it was extraordinary how at the start of the day we all disagreed but by the end of the day we had broken down barriers and reached an agreement we were all happy with but more importantly that we all felt we had put our own little bit in.

I want Scotland to be a place that deals with all the problems that are going to come our way. We deal with them as a unit with people from various backgrounds working alongside our politicians, as with ordinary people involved I believe this could go a long way in bringing back trust and transparency for the future of the Scottish government. No matter what gets thrown at us we work through it as a country – poverty, job loss, Brexit, zero hour contracts, taxes – just a few things we are going to face in the future but after being part of the Scottish assembly I honestly believe if we can come together as a nation we can deal with anything and come out the other end stronger, more approachable and a forefront for other parts of not just the United Kingdom but the world to say” here hold on a minute look at this little place called Scotland is at the forefront of world politics”. And that came about because everyone started trusting and believe in each other as transparency can go a long long way of bringing people together.

Chung Dam

Chung Dam

I live in Dundee, and I work in the nursery as an Early Year Educator. I came to Dundee 19 years ago and fell in love with the small city with friendly people and beautiful scenery.

I agreed to become a member because I would love to learn and find out more about Scotland. As an ordinary person, I would like see my voice being heard and contributing to make Scotland stronger and benefit citizens.

The most memorable parts of my experience as a member in the Citizens Assembly would be when I was listening to the lady from the Green Party's speech. It was a fantastic speech and it will benefit Scotland's future. I understood more about different parties and taxes.

During my time in the Citizens Assembly, I learnt a lot about different aspects that would help Scotland be a sustainable country. I would love to see all of the parties working together to build a sustainable country for the benefit of its citizens, and a transparent government.

Caroline Hills

Caroline Hills

I live in Dundee, have 2 sons and 3 grandsons and have worked for Dundee council as a nursery nurse now called early years practitioner for just over 33 years.

I was interested to find out more about politics as I've never really understood a lot of the issues and our rights. The most memorable thing was meeting such a diverse lovely group of people and hearing everyone else's views.

I have learned that everyone can make a difference. I'd like to see everyone treated fairly and a better life work balance.

Marie Nicholson

Marie Nicholson

I live on the southside Glasgow, retired florist self employed, at home with my husband, lived in the same area since married 45 yrs ago. I agreed to this as I like a challenge and boy was this a challenge – – over 100 people from all walks of life, different views, different cultures, different standards of living, but all coming together for one thing, to discuss in a civilised manner how we want to see Scotland in the future… and going forward try to suggest what we feel is best for our country.

The first weekend was memorable, wow, met a lovely bunch of people who all live all over Scotland, and all want the same thing, to be part of being a group who has the privilege to be listened to by MPs and others who work in that industry but value what we say and transfer it into the words that government bodies use. But not telling us what to say but guide our words into the right context. Edinburgh castle – – fantastic what an emotional evening, meeting all the behind-the-scenes team, they are a fab group of people who made me feel that no question is a stupid question ... and that my voice counts ... Been a challenge as some people just don't gel, so it's being respectful to others and hope they behave the same way back. Some young people, not interested in the topic, so didn't participate, and what I find amazing is when the polls get done there is always a percentage of people who don't vote ...that amazes me ..why spend hours and hours talking debating then not use the vote???

I have learned that some people just want to control others and take over the whole conversation and won't listen to others points of view ...I have learned that although we all seem the same we are very different and have different views on how we want Scotland to be, but that's good because we can all bring something to the table that helps us gain strength, and get a better understanding of how others live their lives. I have learned more about politics than I knew before and I wish I had listened more when I was younger as my votes might have been different than today.

I want to see a fairer system that helps the poorest in our society, I don't want people to have to think that life must be lived on benefits, I want job opportunities for everyone. If you want to go to uni it's available, if you want an apprenticeship it's available, housing is a must, not private landlords ripping people off, a good living wage, councils being able to manage their own budget and move monies where they think it's needed most. A greener place to live, educating children to be more aware of the addictions in life, drugs, alcohol, all lead to poor mental health. Really let's teach our children to look after this country that we live in so they can earn a good living and lead a happy healthy life. Let's make these months of hard work count, let's try and make a difference in Scotland, I feel covid has cause a great deal of distraction to all of us, so to me covid has taken over where I might have thought lets go independent, but now I don't know, are we in too much debt with Westminster being in control?

Paul Traynor

I agreed to become a member because it sounded interesting to be part of a group of people focused on making Scotland a place I want to live.

The most memorable part so far would be the first weekend, meeting people and getting to grips with what's expected of me.

I've learned Scotland is a very diverse place and the people are as nice as I knew they would be. There is a lot I would like to change in Scotland and it's a big task! So just in some small way I hope this Assembly will make a difference for Scotland's future young people.

Maxine Fraser

Maxine Fraser

I'm from Inverness, a business administrator, and I have 2 grown up sons. I agreed to become a member because I am slightly interested in politics.

The most memorable thing was learning about a lot of different things and the process. I've learned about the money we receive from the UK government and the Scottish policies.

I would like Scotland to have more of a say in what affects us.

Tommy Stewart

Tommy Stewart

I'm from Inverness in the Highlands. I am a weaving Manager in Johnsons of Elgin. I like gardening. I agreed to be a member after I was approached by someone on the street and thought it would be a good idea.

The most memorable parts have been listening to the politicians and getting other people's views.

I learned where all the money comes from and how much it costs to run the country and how many people are in poverty. I hope poverty can be improved, for a better quality of life. A better NHS.

Shirley Islam

Shirley Islam

I'm someone who grew up in a small town, I had a very poor and disadvantaged background. I wasn't ever a confident person as I suffered a lot of racial abuse when I was young. I decided I wasn't going to feel sorry for myself or be a victim and studied hard at school as I wanted to achieve academically. I work for criminal justice. I am a single parent of two children. I am a happy go lucky person who recognises the positive in life. I often use a common sense approach to problem solving.

I agreed to join as I was interested in making Scotland better for disadvantaged groups as I can understand how life can be hard. I'm interested in making things better. At first I wasn't sure if the process was genuine or would be a serious exercise. I also wasn't sure I would have the confidence to participate. I wasn't certain if we would be encouraged to be honest and speak our mind.

The most memorable part was how informative and knowledgeable the whole group were. How diverse and honest the whole group were. How normal everyone was and friendly. My own personal highlight was having the confidence and words to challenge the MSPs then having an article in the Scotsman about what I said. I feel very privileged to have been part of the vision statement.

I have learned so much – how complicated politics/tax is. I have learned that my voice is as important as someone from government. I have learned you don't have to have a private education to make Scotland better. I have learned to listen to other people's opinions and change mine. I have learned that the people of Scotland can make Scotland better by working together. I have learned a lot about climate change and the Green Party.

For me it is a must that Citizens' Assembly continue, this is the way forward for politics. I would like the vision statement implemented. I would like government to recognise the importance of using normal everyday people in decision making. I would also like to see the House of Lords disbanded and the money used as another tier to politics, using the citizens assembly.

Moira Sunter

Moira Sunter

I live in Tillicoultry with my partner who has an antique business and I help to run the business. I'm a retired financial business development manager and had my 70th birthday during lockdown. Before this relationship which started 4 years ago I was a widow who lived in Edinburgh and travelled a lot, Italy being my favourite destination. Now my social life is definitely curtailed.

I agreed to become a member because it sounded really interesting although I had never heard of citizen assemblies. I had to think hard before I joined because my weekends are important to me. Also I was concerned it would be very political and I find Scottish politics very decisive and emotive. I decided to do it and have no regrets. It has been extremely interesting and I learned a lot.

It is difficult to pick out the most memorable experience as there have been many. The first was the initial weekend and the visit to the castle. Very impressive. Meeting new people from all over Scotland and the speakers were inspirational. It made you want to be a part of it. The whole experience has been very positive. The people being the most interesting, from the speakers, the facilitators the members and everyone involved. It highlighted that we are all alike no matter our background and want the best for Scotland. Also it made me realise I could still contribute in discussions without feeling stupid and could mix with young and old and try and make a contribution. So probably my most memorable is how we could all work as a group and always end up with a consensus.

I feel I have learned a lot. I found the different speakers were very interesting. The MPs question and answer. The sustainability debate. The demographic of Scotland. Although due to my job I travelled all over Scotland and knew different areas well especially the cities but I was shocked to learn the differences in life span from one district to another. Scotland has a long way to go to try and get rid of poverty and try and make Scotland an affluent country for all. I learned that we might not agree politically but we all want the same outcome.

I would like to see our recommendations taken on board by the Scottish parliament. I would like to see more transparency in the government and instead of Indy, Indy, Indy which can be very decisive to all let us govern for all not just the SNP.

Michael Gettins

Michael Gettins

I have worked in social care since 1975 and now live on the beautiful Isle of Arran.

Working with people you quickly realise how unequal our society is. Many people are disconnected and excluded don't have a voice or are unable to use it! Working across urban and rural areas I applied for the Citizens Assembly to make sure their voices help shape the future of Scotland and help to live in a fairer, more equal and representative democracy. I was curious to find out how ordinary folk would work together (even with all our disagreements) to reach a consensus on the questions we were asked to consider. Listen.

Citizen Assembly memories include: ensuring the voices of ordinary people were heard by the politician, learning more about Scotland and from each other and lastly seeing the process respond and evolve in respond as a result of members contributions and a global pandemic!

I have learned so much this past year about Scotland including how and who makes the decisions, about economics, the environment we call home and how the sustainability of our future relies on the right decisions now! I have learned what our core values are, what our hopes and aspirations are and how we see ourselves and want to be seen by others! Listening to one and other you realise no matter where we live or our age or status our ambition for our young people, our communities and our future are strong and filled with hope and compassion! In a successful, healthy and vibrant Scotland I want to see more Citizen involvement right across the entire landscape, in communities of geography or of interest.

What do I want to see change as a result of the Assembly? I'll start with what I don't want: I don't want the report to be ignored or worse still consigned to a dusty shelf. I want the report to be read by the politicians and for the recommendations to be implemented and all existing and future policy to be measured and reported on. I want the voices of the people of Scotland to be heard and acted upon and that assemblies and other participative democratic processes are embedded in a new political structure and that the future of Scotland is forged from the voices of Scotland not just a tick box at elections!

Martin McGill

Martin McGill

I live in Ayrshire with my husband, my mother, and our kitten! I wear several professional hats, mainly involved in mental health services & education/training.

I agreed to become a member to be seen, to be heard, to contribute to something which I believe is vitally important for re-establishing engagement and reaffirming trust between government and citizens.

The lessons learned – the shared awareness & acceptance of difference, the collective determination to move forward to be more than we are, the energy and enthusiasm to really make a difference to the lives of others and to improve ourselves.

I've learned that my hopes, dreams & aspirations for my country are not unique to me; that most people really do care for Scotland & want to do something to improve it. That some others, alas, simply refuse to accept the evidence before them and remain wedded to the myths of the past & will not even consider a future of change & betterment.

I want to see bold, decisive action to be taken in respect of our recommendations, with clear referencing to our work as an assembly.

Shona Peace

Shona Peace

I live in the beautiful island of Orkney, I work as a practice nurse at a local GP practice.

I agreed to join the Assembly because it was something new and unknown. I love to investigate and discover new ideas.

The most memorable part has been meeting and making friendships with many people but especially a few who we will keep in contact with. Figuring out what was required of us. Making my thoughts known in safe environment which was scary. Listening to the experts, especially Chris McCorkindale. I could have listened to him all day – very interesting and knowledgeable.

I learned how to work together in small and big groups. Not finding expressing my views as scary. How the poverty and death instances are so defined in Scotland as in upper class less lower class high – – made me think.

I would like what we have recommended be taken into consideration and hopefully made constitutional. I think using this style of assembly should be used more for different things.

Alexander Robbin

Alexander Robbin

I was born at Hastings 12 miles from the City of Freetown. Sierra Leon. Under British Overseas territory rule in West Africa. I am now residing in Edinburgh. In Scotland. To be precise Gilmerton, south east of the city. I was employed by Edinburgh Council Education. Served the Scottish community as Senior Science Laboratory Technician. That career lasted for 36 years at Whitburn Academy. West Lothian Council. I am now Retired. Looking forward to my future retirement years. Very much interested in solar renewable technology.

I love to serve people, any opportunity to serve the public, I will take it. I was once a union representative. Served in consultative panel. Lothian Pension Scheme. Interested in pension education for employees. When recruited to be a member of Citizen Assembly I was delighted once again to serve and give my contribution in a meaningful way. I thought this will be history and I will want to be part of it. I didn't know what would be required of me but I just felt a willing heart can overcome difficulties. I will participate well to make it happen. In short the willingness to serve and make a difference.

The most memorable part has been meeting of diverse knowledge, views and life time experience. Meeting and getting to know other members.

I have learned the act of leadership, as well as community education from members. To focus on the pressing matters facing the citizen of Scotland. Team work, understanding others viewpoints. Undertaking roles to enhance progress in groups task. Work to deadline and produce collective outcomes. Better communication amongst member and lead team members. General knowledge and the effectiveness to be able to read, write and communicate effectively. Finally I've learned to be able to get the final mission statement as the ultimate goal.

I want to see the creation of a Scottish Citizens' Assembly alongside Scottish Government. Preferably yearly or bi-yearly rolling tenure of office.

Evelyn Sweeney

Evelyn Sweeney

I am a retired tutor of textile arts. My reason for joining the Assembly was two-fold. I was rudderless having just lost my husband John. I wanted to get out and this seemed like a good opportunity to keep being a part of society. I didn't know how it was going to be structured, but I knew it was going to be in the political arena and looking at the kind of Scotland I want to live in, and that I'd hear others views.

The most memorable parts were when we all gathered together around the tables and all the individual groups had the chance to discuss to decide what we liked and what we thought needed to change. It was memorable all of us having a chance to have our views heard. Everyone was so organised. The Secretariat did a really good job.

I've learned that all of the people that I met, everyone wanted a fairer society. A lot of areas were in a state of imbalance, working conditions, housing conditions. Everyone was struggling with something and that was good to hear that we are not alone. Generally, we're all too ready to jump to conclusions, we judge, it's part of being human, but the assembly brought more clarity to the similarities as much as the differences.

The changes I want to see in Scotland as a result of the Assembly are on working conditions, zero hours contracts and especially throughout the pandemic it has left people falling between the cracks. We need to have a greater appreciation of those at the lower end of the wage scale. Universal basic income, an income that comes to you from birth. I feel strongly that no one should be struggling to have a roof over their head or choose between heating or eating.

Lisa Gillespie

Lisa Gillespie

I am 31 years old and live in Baillieston, Glasgow. I am a customer service supervisor for an online retailer. I am married and live with my husband Nick and our furbaby Teabag, a brindle Staffie.

I agreed to become a member of the citizens assembly as it was an exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only to meet lots of different people from all over the country, but to be an important part of positive changes for Scotland!

A very memorable part of the assembly was in the first weekend getting to know lots of people who I now consider friends but also the trip to the castle and the evening in the Grand Hall!

I have learned so much from other members of the assembly along with the chosen speakers for each weekend. It was nice to hear opinions from other people and make you look at things from a different perspective.

As a common theme it was apparent that everyone wanted to make Scotland a better place for all to live. I personally hope there is positive changes in the taxation system (particularly around council tax bindings being reviewed) and improvements to public services, health and wellbeing of all in Scotland.

Callum McPhee

Callum McPhee

I live in Falkirk and I'm a leisure attendant.

I agreed to be a member to see if my opinion really counts and could make a difference.

The most memorable part has probably been meeting all other members and listening to their opinions and what matters most to them.

I learned a lot about what matters to people in Scotland, i.e. wage increase/better pensions/less poverty and so on.

For myself personally I want there to be an increase in the state pension and increase the income for the disabled. The current amount they receive the now just gets them by. It doesn't give them a life!

Anne Nisbet

Anne Nisbet

I live in Paisley and am a social worker with people with addictions in Glasgow.

I was interested and was intrigued by the importance of the Assembly when approached. I had a total lack of knowledge at the start. I didn't know what the process was going to be like.

There was a lot of debating, you would go with an idea, but leave with a different opinion about something. There was a lot of topics where people had a lot of knowledge.

It's been absolutely amazing. The whole journey has been so worthwhile and having lecturers. It's been fabulous, the amount of people we've had speaking to us on policy and constitution. The amount of things I've learned from not really knowing how Scottish Government works to where we are now.

I'd like the drugs policy to change. I think the decriminalisation of drugs would have a positive effect on the economy, criminal justice system and also NHS and social care.

I hope to see a type of Assembly and people being heard – that's the most important thing for me. There was so many things that people had highlighted about transport about drug policy and these things still need to be worked on, how as Scotland we can function better as a country.

Douglas Ruffhead

Douglas Ruffhead

I am a foster carer and live in Dunfermline. I joined because I wanted to express my views about living in Scotland

The most memorable thing has been being able to express my views about creating a better Scotland.

I've learned there are many subjects involved in creating the perfect Scotland. I want to see a Scotland where there is equal opportunity for everyone whether it be by age, race, religion or wealth.

Deepa Bains

Deepa Bains

I am a Scottish Indian young chap living in Glasgow. I have been registered blind since 2016 and am unemployed at the moment. I am so proud and privileged to take part in the first Citizens' Assembly of Scotland. I feel this is the best way in making decisions about our country because it is the citizens of Scotland taking part in this opportunity. I believe in the future this is the best way forward. Here's to our freedom.

To be honest I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but before our final weekend get together I am so proud and passionate that I have taken part and by chatting to the members I know they feel the same way. As a citizen of Scotland I agree to take part coz I believe my views and opinions can play an important part in the way our country should be in future.

The most memorable part has been making important decisions for the better of our country and also making new friends, and gaining better understanding and knowledge about the country the way it runs.

I have learned the value of the opinions of other people.

I want citizens to be able to take part in changing our country for the better.

Susan Jones

Susan Jones

I am a single 50 year old mother of two. Born in Edinburgh but lived from the age of 11 in England. I moved back to Scotland 11 years ago so that I could raise my children in Scotland. I believe that Scotland's education and national health service is still superior to the English system. I live in South Queensferry, I am currently a full time carer to my daughter and also study from home in environmental sciences.

It seems so long ago now that I agreed to become a member but I do remember feel both honoured and apprehensive to be asked. I had no serious interest in politics, this was because it confused me and much of what was decided by both UK government and Scottish government felt above me. I had however followed the Irish assembly and so how the regular everyday people of Ireland were able to make changes and be listened and as a result laws were changed inspired me not to be afraid of the assembly. I felt it was important for the people of Scotland to have an input on decisions made.

What were the most memorable moments? Wow, this a question with an answer that could go on for a long time if I was being vocal, however I am not great at writing my thoughts but I will do my best. The first day the assembly came together is something I will never forget, so many people from so many different backgrounds, family, jobs, education, diversity, life skills. They all however had one thing in common, making Scotland a better place to live. The first assembly evolved and the results told me that we all already appreciated the country we live in, the beauty, the food etc. It was great leaving the weekend knowing that we all had similar goals. Also the people in charge were approachable and warm and friendly. I was surprised as often people in charge can be intimidating. I remember going on the bus to the castle which was a wonderful experience however the memory that stands out for me was sitting on the coach and having a conversation with Ian [Davidson, secretary to the Assembly]. He was warm, friendly and funny. I didn't feel any divide between the members and the managers of the assembly. I loved the way that everybody, managers and members sat chatting together at meals times.

What have I learned? Another impossible question. I have found that I have an opinion that counts. We have listened to speakers that have explained so many things together. I have learned, most importantly that the people of Scotland do want equality, fairness, kindness and opportunities for all. I have learnt that the politicians speakers are all passionate about what they believe in. I have learnt that no matter who you are or where you come you, being part of this assembly means you can be vocal.

I live in a wonderful country that is doing a reasonable job of taking care of its people. However we all need to do better. I would like to see equal opportunities for all. I would like to see the divide between extreme wealth and poverty made smaller. Taxation changes will hopefully improve this. I would like to see more affordable housing, improved national health service but supporting the national health workers as well as their users. Climate change and the importance of using and investing in our natural resources is very high in my list also for change.

Sarah Jane Coutts

Sarah Jane Coutts

I'm from Edinburgh, 31 years old, and work as an office manager, and single mum to my 6 year old boy.

I agreed to become a member because I love my country and am very proud to be Scottish and very proud to have been a part of this.

The most memorable part has to be the people. Meeting all different people from all different parts of Scotland has been a very rewarding experience.

I've learned that no matter anyone else's opinion, people can come to a mutual agreement.

Basically, everything we worked hard on, I want to see change as a result of the Assembly. I want to see the government take note that our voices need to be heard.

Theresa Brown

I am a Business owner from Glasgow. I am interested in the politics of Scotland and found this to be an ideal opportunity to be involved in something worthwhile. I had hoped to learn more about how my country is governed.

The most important thing for me was the information and presentations we had the pleasure of experiencing throughout the Assembly.

I have learned that it is very difficult for Scotland to have the kind of country we desire due to the restrictions imposed from Westminster. It is difficult to engage in an idea when ultimately it cannot be acted upon due to the lack of powers to do so.

I would most like to see Scotland having the freedom to invest in its people. I would love to see full investment in Sustainable Economic Growth, Wellbeing of the whole population and a proper programme of Green Energy.

Tom Adamson

Tom Adamson

I'm a social worker, originally from Saltcoats in North Ayrshire but I've lived in Dundee now for over 5 years. It's the longest I've stayed in any one place! Having lived and worked all over – Ghana, Canada, Peru, Glasgow – during the decade before.

I'd read about the Irish Assembly and how much that was a catalyst for real change. I believe more opportunities for participatory democracy is a great thing, and necessary. ‘Normal' people being able to have a say in the issues that affect them, too often political decisions – even on a local level – are taken by people with little understanding of how the majority of Scots live. The Assembly wasn't – and was never going to be – the solution to all of that, but it's a welcome start.

The most memorable part was meeting people from all over Scotland: new Scots, islanders, highlanders, young, old(er!) – it was great to hear so many fresh and differing perspectives. It has broadened my understanding of who ‘Scotland' really is.

I have deepened my understanding of tax, particularly how taxation could – and should! – be used, i.e to promote greener and fairer policies. I have learned that consensus needs to be sought, each breakout table has taught me that. However, I have learned that if you explore the root issues, there is a clear majority support for tackling issues like climate change, poverty, and inequality.

Over the last decade, I've seen a real divergence on policy – and in the priorities – with respect to the Scottish and UK Governments. To an extent that's been mirrored in wider society. I'm not a Nationalist by any means, but I do think (if the majority of Scots agree in May 2021) we need to have another referendum on the National Question. I believe in the vision for Scotland so many of my assembly members shared: that is, egalitarian, green, and poverty free.

Gillian Forbes

Gillian Forbes

I am 60 and live in Perth with my husband. I have 2 grown up children, one in Glasgow and the other in Inverness. I was an Intensive Care Charge Nurse, before having our children, and have worked in education, in the exams dept., for the last 23 years.

I have completed many market research events and was delighted to be asked to be part of the Citizens' Assembly. I knew it would take me out with my normal comfort zone, but welcomed the challenges and meeting new people from different walks of life.

The most memorable part was the excitement and anxiety of not knowing what to expect! The fact that it was the very first Citizens' Assembly in Scotland. The opportunity to broaden my thoughts, and work with a variety of people from over the length and breadth of the country and of all backgrounds. I was enthusiastic to be part of work that hopefully will make a positive difference to the country in which we live.

I have learnt a great deal and been encouraged to do more of my own learning and research. Issues such as finance, climate control, happiness and well-being, tax and the history of politics and many other related subjects and how they work in different countries

I would like to see a more open and honest government, and more forums, like the Assembly, who can discuss and report to the Government what matter to the public. I would love to be present when our report is discussed by the Scottish parliament. Over the future years I hope that Scotland does take more action to build more communities, have healthier, happier and less obese people who want to be part of a great country where people feel valued and safe. We have such a wealth of resources in Scotland and to provide a more efficient and effective NHS and with a much higher level of education and support for all children, finding them suitable employment and being a valued member of society.

John Pols

I was a dialysis technician for 20 years working at the Western General and I was a window cleaner for 35 years, retired undefeated for 2 years.

It was the money that dragged me in, but I enjoyed the interaction with fellow members. You meet all sorts of people, I've never met so many different people in my life.

The most memorable part about the meetings was “feeding time at the jubilee zoo” when members got their lunch. I've learned about how you can go over things and everyone has their own view. I've learned when to keep my mouth shut.

I want to see more say by the people of Scotland. It would be nice if one or two of the recommendations get taken on by the politicians.

Derek Lovell

Derek Lovell

I live in Edinburgh, 61 years old, married 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren, retired 5 years ago.

The most memorable thing was interaction with other people, learning from them and listening to other people's point of view. I learned how similar all our concerns are. Hopes and wishes are very similar.

I want to see Scotland get more devolution powers without losing our part of the UK status.

Jacqueline Curran

Jacqueline Curran

I'm a 70 year old retired primary teacher. I've lived in Glasgow all my life and have three children and six grandchildren. My four siblings live in Glasgow as do my two daughters and their families. My son and his family live in England. I have many groups of friends and a busy social life. Walking is my favourite pastime and doing the 500 mile walk from France to Santiago de Compostela.

I've never been particularly interested in politics but was curious when I was recruited. It seemed to me that I was being given a chance to help create a country my grandchildren would want to live in as adults.

Probably the first thing that's memorable was realising that we were indeed a diverse group which had been fairly selected. Second would be the superb organisation of the workshops and the feeling of equality among EVERYONE involved. In spite of my political ignorance, I didn't feel inferior (or superior) to any other person in the room. The secretariat and all the heid bummers are doing an amazing job in that respect! I loved the respect members showed to each other, the way ideas were thrashed out and whittled down until hundreds of ideas became a dozen or so which were most important to the majority ( who would have thought that could be done), I was surprised at how mentally exhausted I was at the end of Saturday nights and when I got home on Sundays. Most memorable will be the warmth of feeling among everyone involved.

I've learned lots but please don't ask what I've retained! I do have notes though. From the first or second assembly I was amazed that so many people were unaware of the difference a postcode made in life expectancy of people in Glasgow. I worked in the poorest area (Shettleston) and was well aware that many didn't reach pension age. Even then I heard stories from members who had experience of receiving benefits and those who were just above the mark for receiving them and was horrified. I learned a great deal from the Green Party speaker and was extremely angry about much of what I heard about the tax system in this country.

Some things I want to see change as a result of our Assembly:

  • A fair tax system.
  • Good council housing which can be sold to long term tenants at a fair price with the proceeds being invested in the building of more houses.
  • Financial power given to local areas so that they can prioritise spending where most needed.
  • Green issues taken seriously
  • Politicians working together for common good. Less arguing for the sake of it.
  • No talk of referendum until we have recovered from the effects of Covid and another generation IS here

This list could be endless but let's get rid of all forms of bigotry, educate our children well and accept they don't all need to go to further education. We can't all be brain surgeons. We need people to sweep our streets and take up apprenticeships! Every job is important and we need people to take a pride in Scotland knowing that they contribute to its greatness and are valued for doing so.

Bethia Ross

I am a widow with 3 children and 3 grandchildren. I have lived in Govan for 44 years where I worked as a youth worker for 22 of those years. I am now working in an office in a community venue dealing with the public and taking bookings for events.

I thought it would be very interesting to meet and find out if all the members involved from all over Scotland had very much the same worries and concerns as myself to what would need to put in place to make life better for all of Scotland rather than just thinking about the area that you live in. I am sure we have made great headway towards a better, safer, healthier and productive society for Scotland's future.

For me the most memorable part has been meeting so many likeminded and very interesting people who I would never have met within my social surroundings of Govan. I have met so many people who I never thought for a moment would be interested in what I thought we could do to better our country. I also loved chatting to members in our free time and discovering that no matter what occupation, wealth, education and area we came from that we all had the same ambitions and hopes for our children's future.

I have learned to listen to each person round the table and this made it easier to express my views on the issue when it came to my turn to speak. I have also realised it's much more complicated and difficult being a member of parliament trying to please all their voters. This is why it will be very important to have citizens assemblies with members from all backgrounds and areas in Scotland who could pass on the thoughts and hopes of ordinary people who only want the best for Scotland and all who live here.

I would love to think that we could reduce our carbon footprint to zero.

Comrie Turner Stott

Comrie Turner Stott

I was born at the western general hospital in Edinburgh on the 6th of November 1947 (3 weeks late, my mother would remind me). I retired from Hewlett Packard after 37 and half years' service. I am an avid Heart of Midlothian supporter and a proud Scotsman.

I was intrigued by the concept of the Citizens' Assembly as it was put to me. The thought of being part of a process which may affect the future of the population of Scotland and the way in which we may govern and rule captivated my very soul and as I was assured that this was not a politically driven assembly sold me to join.

Initially the most memorable thing was meeting such a large and diverse group of people who live and work in Scotland. The way that the Citizens' Assembly staff have managed and ran the series of meetings against all odds with COVID hanging round our necks has been admirable. Also the standard of facilitators at our break out groups has been excellent and whilst they assisted us with our tasks they in no way pushed us towards any given goals but made sure that we stayed within the parameters which were set to us. So all in all it has been an enlightening experience and well worth taking part in.

I think on a personal level I have learned to listen to other people's opinions, process them first before I make a comment of my own (which has not always been my way in the past). Again, listening to participants all over Scotland from different ethnic, religious and educational backgrounds has been very enlightening. The fact that we managed to run this series of meetings without any political dogma hanging over our heads was very refreshing as again I was not sure that this was not a politically driven scenario.

From a personal point I would love to see our elected assembly actually taking note of what their constituents thoughts and feelings actually are, instead of blindly following political party ideology. Because what a waste it would be after all the time and effort that the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland members have spent trying to formulate ideas and issues to put towards Holyrood if they were then just cast aside and given no credence. As a final statement I would hope that something similar could be continued at future periods as I am positive that there are many people out there who could contribute many more ideas of how we could go forward as a country.

Grace Tomley

Grace Tomley

I live in Dundonald in Ayrshire. I am retired and 66 years old. I agreed to join the Citizens' Assembly as I am interested in what happens to the country I live in. I felt at my age I had quite a bit of experience about life, therefore could contribute. I am interested in making changes, as I think I can see room for improvement.

Really we have done a lot, and seen quite a few professionals, in a lot of different fields. Also politicians came and took questions from us, although this was not the most memorable part. My best part of the experience was listening to other people's points of view. I took a lot of this on board, as they say. So it was very interesting, and a lot of people were very passionate about their opinions.

I have learned quite simply to listen to other people. It was good to hear what others found important. People who lived in different areas had their own agenda to pursue. I liked that we could come to some form of agreement, as a whole.

I do hope something comes out of it, that will benefit most of the people. I hope some politicians watch our livestream and listen to what we talked about among ourselves. I found it very interesting listening to other people, as we are not all the same. I would like to think that young people who are still at school be given every chance to do as best they can. I have seen through life that too many are thrown on the scrap heap at a young age. These decisions a school makes can change their lives, so it is important to give them a second third or even fourth chance. I am pleased to see that further education is available to a lot of people.

Benedict Amamize

Benedict Amamize

I am a 52 year old immigrant from Nigeria. A secondary school teacher. And married with two daughters. We live in Livingston.

Citizens' Assemblies have been used successfully in other parts of the world to bring about the desired change. So, my thinking was that our decisions will provide needed political cover for politicians to set aside their differences and do the right thing. The assembly is the needed vehicle to drive and convey the policy change.

It's been great to learn much about Scotland from the expert witnesses. It is a great thing to be listened to. Our assembly adopted the 3 step process of Learning, Deliberation and Decision making. We were supported by a team of impartial facilitators who guided us through the process, ensuring that everyone was heard and comfortably participating.

I have learned to discuss and engage with people with a view of reaching collective decision, knowing that everybody's voice is important and has to be heard. More important is the fact that this world is a field of play, individuals and countries are players that need to strategize, reposition and plan to remain relevant and equipped to face the challenges on the field of play. Scotland had to be repositioned. It needed to be done and the assembly – the ordinary citizens of Scotland have done it. The people have spoken.

Due to the devastating effect of COVID, poverty has risen exponentially from an already unacceptably high level. More people are now facing situations where they cannot afford the basics, play a full role in the society nor reach their full potentials. Our recommendations are all policies that will reduce and eradicate economic poverty, health poverty, social, educational, mental, and every other poverty that is limiting the people of Scotland. Poverty in all facet of life are pointers to the fact that our government has to open up routes out of poverty and try to prevent more people from being trapped in this cycle. I also want to see the implementation of community led participation in decision making and government. Community participation will ultimately promote transparency, openness and build ownership of decisions and policies. Community and citizens participation encourages citizens to be more engaged in the decision-making processes that have an impact on their local communities.

Laura Coleman

Laura Coleman

I'm 30 years old and from sunny Glasgow. I live with my partner, daughter and our two Guinea Pigs. I have recently taken a new career path in the dental industry and work in a lab as a Dental Technician, so it's back to school for me next summer! In my spare time I like to meet with friends and go out for dinner.

When I was asked I felt honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of the first ever Citizens' Assembly in Scotland so this is something I will be very proud of. I wanted to be a part of Scotland's history and be able to make a difference for the people of Scotland. I was excited to have had my voice heard along with the other assembly members.

It was such a great experience meeting such a diverse group of people and being able to come together and agree on a final output. I really enjoyed visiting the Edinburgh Castle on our first weekend where we heard some speakers and also a Scottish poem, which was lovely! The weekends where we gathered in the Golden Jubilee Hotel in Clydebank we had a hard working day with all our presentations and discussions, which was pretty tough some days as there was a lot to concentrate on. Although it was lovely in the evening to be able to wind down and get to socialise with all the members over dinner before heading to bed for the next day ahead of us.

This full journey was such a learning curve for me. I felt like I knew enough about politics to be a part of the experience although some of the speakers we heard were very educational and factual. I learned about the different aspects of taxes and also about devolved powers.

I mostly want things to change in the employment law for young people's future, such as my daughters generation. I would like everyone to have equal opportunities in life no matter their backgrounds and also be able to live comfortably with the national living wage, and no zero hour contacts. I hope we can keep free education and have more opportunities for career paths when children leave school. I also would like there to be more support for young people when needed, such as mental health services, lifestyle and fitness classes etc. Why? Because I want the best future for my daughter and people up and coming, and not be faced with the challenges young adults are facing nowadays with struggling to gain permanent positions in what they would like to pursue as a career.

Dawid Olejnik

Dawid Olejnik

I'm originally from Poland and my mom moved to Edinburgh so I really do see myself as Scottish because I went to nursery down in Leith. I went to primary school in Edinburgh went to high school in Edinburgh and currently I'm a student at Abertay University in Dundee doing my honours work.

Honestly I just wanted to see what the Citizens' Assembly was about. When I was approached at first I thought do I really want to waste my weekends? Being a student, weekends are precious to me! I thought, you know I'll see how it goes. I went to the first weekend and really, really enjoyed it, and felt like this might actually turn out to be something really good. I'll give it a try see what happens. From then on I really fell in love with the process, and fell in love with what we can do as an Assembly.

There were a lot of people with very strong opinions on how they viewed the country especially when it came to independence. That was a very hot topic and that took a lot of cool heads to try and discuss in a mature manner. There's so many different people from all across Scotland who hold so many different views and there's some people who are very passionate about their views. At times we had to sort of take a step back and think about trying to understand each other's points of views

I'll also remember the assembly band that that was that was quite nice – – just having everyone from all around the country just hearing other people's stories, other people's life stories, where they're come from, their experience, just meeting new people that's probably another great part of it. I've always been local to Edinburgh and Dundee and never really been as far up north as some people who had to travel by ferry to get here, so it was just really interesting meeting those people.

The recommendations I am most passionate about are the environmental recommendations, making sure that we protect the beauty of Scotland, protect Scottish nature and make sure that we are able to be a clean and healthy country. I want Scotland to have a bigger voice in the world than we currently have.

Karen Bayliss

I live in Fife, Scotland, and work for the NHS.

I did not have a good understanding about politics at the beginning but I wanted to learn more and I have learnt a great deal and have enjoyed every moment of it.

The most memorable part is meeting all the people that took part from all walks of life. I really enjoyed listening to the speakers and all the team members it has given me so much confidence within myself and I will be truly grateful for that.

I have learned so much of how we can make Scotland a better place and have a better understanding of how the taxes are spent in Scotland.

I would like for carers to get a higher pay as they have worked extremely hard in this pandemic and think all carers and NHS should get more than the living wage. I would also like to see the wage go up for 16 year olds.

Leanne Thomson

Leanne Thomson

I'm a part time barmaid and mum of 3 boys from Aberdeen.

I wasn't sure what I'd agreed to but was assured I was going to be part of history making with regards to politics.

I loved the sense of belonging to something. The conversational guidelines were also massive in making sure everyone's voice was heard.

I've learnt a great deal about taxation and finances in Scotland and how a lot of the things that matter to me also matter to many others.

I would like to see poverty completely eradicated and there to be no reason that a child, or anyone for that matter, should be hungry.

David Smith

David Smith

I wanted to be part of this Assembly to ensure that my views would be heard not only for myself but for all the others with similar views on how Scotland needs to be run.

The most memorable part was meeting many members who had the same thoughts and ideas on Scotland and how desperately they wanted a better managed Scotland with more than Independence as the only issue being pursued.

I learned very quickly that that Assembly members could discuss issues without argument or party lines. However I did find that the Assembly was directed in the main by the Secretariat conducting the meetings in a manner without consulting the whole membership and manipulating a subtle direction.

I would like to see a more open and honest approach to decision making in politics not the petty grievances we have at this moment. Political parties working together for the good of the country. I expect my politicians to be able to do their job in a professional manner and be from all parts of public life and not party line followers with no experience of life in a real job.

Nicole Robertson

Nicole Robertson

I'm from just outside Edinburgh and I go to Edinburgh Uni. I'm currently studying reproductive biology and I'm in my honours year just now. I work part-time at McDonalds as a chef manager.

I was really interested to join the Assembly to see how I could contribute to improving the Scottish education system. I was from quite a deprived area and people told me that I couldn't go to university. It wasn't known for people from my school to go to university. I just felt like this was a good opportunity to get my view across, and to tell people about how we could actually help people in education and every time we've had something in the assembly I've always brought up education and how we can make it better for other people.

I'll remember the experience as a whole, meeting people from different walks of life at the assembly and seeing different people's priorities from different areas in Scotland.

I think I'm definitely a lot more politically engaged. Now if I find something interesting I go and research it myself. It's definitely put a light bulb in my brain. There's so much more information out there.

Our vision and recommendations show what the people of Scotland want. They set us up as an assembly because they wanted to see what we thought and what we were feeling. So this is what the people of Scotland wants, what they need. They need to follow through with it and support us because at the end of the day it's not the politicians that make the country. It's the people that make the country.

Barry Jones

Barry Jones

Retired. Live in Scottish Borders. Born and raised in England but lived here since 1989.

I became a member because it's a unique opportunity to become involved in helping to shape the sort of country that most people would want to live in!

The most memorable thing for me was meeting a young man on day one who said he took no interest in politics, but around the 4th weekend, he was talking passionately in front of the Assembly.

I've learned we can all learn and grow. Being politically aware is now more important than ever. Ordinary people can have the power to change the way things are.

I want to see a fairer and more equal society, where the gap between rich and poor is narrowed. Why? Because a society where people are treated fairly and with respect is a happier society.

David Barton

David Barton

I'm a master's graduate in international politics. I've obviously been interested in politics for a long time and it's been trying to see how this new way of doing things through a Citizens' Assembly could work. It's been interesting to be on the inside of that and rather than looking at it academically I thought that would be very interesting. It's a historic experience in general as well to be part of the very first attempt at the sort of deliberative democratic body that we've ever tried in Scotland.

The most memorable thing was the very first time we all walked in to the big meeting hall in Edinburgh when you just saw the entire assembly for the first time and you got a sense of scale. Before, it was kind of this vague concept that there was going to be a hundred people and they were going to be from across Scotland and it's going to be broadly representing the diversity of Scotland. To actually see that in person was very memorable and I think it stuck with everybody. I think that's part of one of the big reasons why everyone stayed around, because we actually saw: this is like a mini Scotland, there's people from all over here.

There was a really good night where a lot of the members who played musical instruments did a little jam session together which was a lot of fun for everyone who played and I think it was a lot of fun for everyone who listened as well!

Climate change and sustainability is really the biggest thing we have to deal with as a country. We have a lot of other issues which we've talked about and those all need to be sorted as well but the environment sort of has a as a limiting factor. If we don't sort that out then we don't have the time to sort everything else.

It will be good for the next assembly to be focused on one specific issue because it will give members a lot more time to dig in to specific issues. What this assembly has been really good at is sort of figuring out what is Scotland, what does it want to be, and what do we need to do in order to get to where we want to be from where we are?

Robert Greenshields

Robert Greenshields

I live in Dunfermline. I am married and with two lovely kids. My job involves revenue operations for an engineering company. I enjoy learning to play guitar and reading.

I agreed to be a member because I just wanted the change to be heard out. The most memorable parts were the live events with all the great people and our meetings in Glasgow.

I have learned so much, I can honestly say 90% of what we discussed was all so new and interesting to me.

I only want government to take our recommendations and make them happen.

John Coletta

John Coletta

Musician, in a new build, via Scottish Gov compulsory purchase demolition & help scheme. Not worked since the Plague

I agreed to be a member because I was interested in feeling part of the common opinion.

The discussions with interested people with fresh insights through experiences I have never had were the most memorable part.

I would say I have learned to listen and think before I speak. I want to see political truth and responsibility, in an age where our personal history is recorded.

Mel Maclaren

Mel Maclaren

I'm 28 years old from Edinburgh. I work as a primary school teacher. I work part-time because I have a little boy who is three.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity as an assembly member because I work in education. I have to teach about current political topics and what's going on in Scotland, where we see ourselves in the future, and the historic events that have shaped Scotland today. I was given the opportunity to bring my ideas and my enthusiasm to the table in the Citizens' Assembly and I want positive change for my own child and for the children that I teach each year.

The most memorable moments were in Glasgow at the second and third weekend, when we were getting into the meaty stuff and were deciding what was important for Scotland. We all had conflicting views because we all come from a range of different backgrounds. It was really important that everybody's ideas were put forward because we all had so many great ideas. It was important we narrowed these down to the key recommendations for the future of Scotland.

I've learned a lot. Now when I'm in conversation I feel much more knowledgeable about our place in the world, in Europe and Great Britain. I've learned a huge amount from talking to people from different areas of Scotland and how they live. And I suppose about poverty as well. I'm not naive about poverty because I know in particular parts of Edinburgh there's lots of it. But speaking to people from certain areas, deprived areas, they were talking about how some people in their neighbourhood live and I was just a bit like ‘I can't believe things like that happen not that far away from where I live.' It has broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to what Scotland is actually like and what Scotland's all about.

I want there to be enough opportunities created in employment or further education for children and young adults, especially because we're going to be in the middle of a very, very big recession soon on the back of the pandemic. For me it's very important that we have lots of opportunities for employment not even just for young people but in general. I think the Scottish Government need to ensure they're creating jobs within the next five years for people that are going to be made redundant or unemployed.

I would also say sustainability is extremely important, so ensuring that everything is made more environmentally friendly whether that's tax on companies that aren't being environmentally friendly or otherwise.

I talk about the Assembly frequently because a lot of my friends are interested and a lot of them are teachers, so they think it's quite fascinating and they just want to know more about it and now they ask me lots of questions.

I think it's important that politicians act on our recommendations because, well, for one we've just spent a lot of taxpayers money meeting up regularly for over a year, and for the first time ever we have this mini Scotland who have come up with recommendations that they feel are important to them. I think they have to act on it. What I would like to see is politicians discussing our recommendations in parliament and then talk about how they are going to act on it.