Co-operative Fortnight can, on any criteria, be judged as a success.

Thousands of people from every corner of the country came together to attend more than 100 events over a fourteen day period. In doing so, every attendee paid tribute to our timeless co-operative principles of co-operation, solidarity and equality.

Co-operative Fortnight also received significant political support from Labour & Co-op members of the Scottish and UK Parliaments, who came together once more to reaffirm their commitment to our values.

In Westminster, Luciana Berger MP chose to table her first EDM – previously reported and welcomed on this blog – in support of Co-operative Fortnight. So far, a total of 72 members, strongly supported by other Labour Co-op MPs have signed up in support.

Flying the Co-operative flag in Holyrood, Bill Butler, the Labour and Co-op MSP for Glasgow Anniesland tabled a similar motion, which encouraged communities, schools, Local Authorities and the Scottish Executive to get involved throughout the two week period. Bill has so far received support for his motion from scores of other Labour members.

Now that Co-operative Fortnight is over, it was heartening to see Co-op Members of the Welsh Assembly follow Luciana and Bill in tabling a motion which paid tribute to its success. We have now seen supportive statements issued in the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The Welsh motion called on the administration to establish a Working Party to increase awareness of co-operation, help develop new co-operatives and to promote fair trade in a co-operative way. It reads:

This Assembly:

Congratulates the Co-operative Movement in Wales on the success of the first Co-operative fortnight;

Mindful that the UN has proclaimed 2012 International Year of Co-operatives, recognises that the co-operative business model is essential to economic and social development based upon ethical and sustainable values;

Calls on the Welsh Assembly Government to initiate a Working Party to support a programme of action to include:

  1. Fostering increased public awareness and understanding of co-operation;
  2. Developing co-operatives and community organisations, and enabling fair access to the public sector procurement processes; and
  3. Promoting Fairtrade by supporting co-operatively owned producers.

The Welsh motion also reminded us that 2012 is the United Nations International Year of the Co-operative. No doubt, we can look forward to even greater involvement between communities, individuals and our movement in two years time. If we see anything near the same level of public enthusiasm and political support as we saw for Co-operative Fortnight, it is guaranteed to be a success.