As part of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) debate and consultation on referendum issues, Edinburgh TUC (ETUC) is organising a series of workshops on key issues facing Scotland and its capital.
The first topic is a vital one: 'The Future of the Welfare State in Scotland'. It is being held tonight (Monday 28 January 2013) between 7pm and 9pm at the Augustine Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
There will be three speakers: Dave Watson (UNISON), Bill Scott (Inclusion Scotland) and Sue Robertson from the Scottish Womens' Budget Group.
The meeting follows a hard-hitting report from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), and a letter from Oxfam Scotland this past weekend in Scotland on Sunday newspaper, making it plain that the UK government's welfare and social security cuts were making poverty, exclusion and hardship worse for many.
People involved in trade unions, charities, NGOs, labour movement bodies, civic, faith and community groups will have different starting points on the issue of Scottish independence.
The idea of these 'round tables' is to try to get to the heart of the social, political and economic issues in a way that enables dialogue and understanding, gets behind easy 'yes' -v- 'no' rhetoric, and builds solidarity for social justice and common action.
The meeting will be informal and provide space for discussion. If you are planning to attend, it would be helpful to drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org 
(c) Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia, and a freelance writer, trainer, consultant and social theologian. He is also active in the National Union of Journalists, and is the new NUJ Edinburgh Freelance Branch representative on Edinburgh TUC. In a personal capacity he supports 'Yes Scotland' (www.yesscotland.net/ ) and the National Collective (http://nationalcollective.com/ ), and will be covering referendum issues (including conversations between different viewpoints) on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence .