President Eric Bell welcomed 31 members to the first meeting in May held in the Crown Inn, Laurencekirk.
With the Referendum on Scottish Independence in September, it was fitting for the speaker to choose to talk on this important topic. Bill Greig was for more than 20 years political editor for the Daily Express based in Glasgow, but is now retired and living in Edzell. Politics, Bill reminded his audience, affects everyone as life, death, food, transport, rural issues, road traffic and health care, among other things. Polls and their results were discussed and how present day polls on opinions can be re-aligned to achieve the desired outcome. At this present time Poll panels would appear to support a Yes vote, but women and blue-collar workers are split on their decisions. Financial backing of these Polls can make a difference to the results and there has been more money available for the YES campaign than the NO side. How will newspapers influence the outcome was another of Bill’s questions, and will factors such as Facebook or other Media play a part. Civic Nationalism as opposed to Ethnic Nationalism is what we should be aiming for, as after the Referendum we have still to live together on these islands. This was one of the best talks to be heard at the Probus Club. Bill spoke for more than an hour, never referred to notes for facts and figures, and left his audience without upsetting anyone, not an easy task considering the highly emotive subject discussed. Past President Ian Williamson personally thanked Bill for an excellent presentation and called on club members to accord the speaker a well-deserved vote of thanks.