Society hears about Co-op’s history

Pictured are Hugh Donnelly (left) and Jim Tough.
Pictured are Hugh Donnelly (left) and Jim Tough.

The speaker at the March meeting of the Kirriemuir and Angus Saltire Society was Hugh Donnelly of the Co-operative Education Trust of Scotland.

The significance to Scotland is that there were early Co-operatives north of the border, such as the Fenwick Weavers, well before the officially acknowledged start of the movement in Manchester.

Why is education necessary in our schools and colleges? It seems even economics students share the general ignorance of the importance of the Co-operative movement.

A few statistics demonstrated just how significant it is world-wide. In some respects the amount of business transacted exceeds that of the private sector. There are 800 million members world-wide and 50 per cent of all global marketing is carried out by co-operatives.

Very many sectors are included such as retail, wholesale, banking, electrical, telephone, bookstores. There is even a co-operative in India for collecting snake venom.

The Co-operative movement has a social purpose, a culture of democracy and an ethical stance.

Members were left to wonder how it is all now taken for granted, especially as it proved that many attending the meeting are actually members.

The vote of thanks was given by Jim Tough, the Saltire Society’s executive director, who was visiting the branch.

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 9 at 7.30 p.m. in the Old Parish Church Hall, Bank Street, Kirriemuir. The speaker will be Patricia Harrow who will talk about the fascinating life of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, a gaucho, author and the first President of the Scottish National Party.

He was also the first MP to be excluded from the House of Commons for uttering a four letter word.