Michelle McCrindle, chief executive of Food Train, spoke at the Gathering, following Alex Salmond's speech on the third sector in an independent Scotland.
Being allowed to share my vision for Scotland was an exciting opportunity, but keeping it to two minutes was tricky. Luckily for Mr Salmond he had longer to convince a shrewd third sector audience his vision matched ours. But did it?
He spoke warmly of the third sector, citing undeniable statistics about its strength and how much government values the work we do.
He then moved through the now usual referendum topics of welfare, employment and childcare using the “theme of partnership” throughout. All very pleasing to hear, however I felt he could have gone further with some thoughtful insights into the true power of our sector in transforming the lives of people we help and those who volunteer
After all, without its people, Scotland becomes just land.
Having worked in communities with volunteers and older people for many years, I see first-hand that positive things happen when people are truly involved in decision making.
I see first-hand that positive things happen when people are truly involved in decision making
Mr Salmond talked passionately about the consequences of others making decisions for Scotland and its people; a topic the sector audience could all identify with, given the struggles we all face in being truly involved in decision making processes.
So did his vision of Scotland match mine? In “creating a fairer and more prosperous country”, we certainly agree on that. But my question for Mr Salmond is how?
For me, the answer is simple. Scotland’s greatest asset is its people; let people decide what they need and want and let people have the power to lead change.