Go For It

I’m still angry about Scottish Govt’s decision to trash SENScot; still enjoy thoughts that spontaneous, grassroots protest will reverse the decision (not an expectation). The SNP values the Scottish Third Sector, in terms of its contribution to the economy (their own assertion). The move to cancel SENScot was, of course, a political decision; a calculation that the Scottish economy would benefit from a wider definition of social enterprise (SE) – to include hybrid private businesses.

The last two decades have seen the rise of markets into every aspect of our lives; during this period, SENScot championed the ‘asset-locked’ distinction between SE and private business. We formally rejected the ‘hybrid’ definitions of English intermediaries like SE UK and UnLtd; with Scottish partners we created the SE Code; these collective efforts gave our SE community a distinctly Scottish dimension. But over recent years, it has become evident, (in its choice of partners) that SG has moved to the English hybrid model of blurred boundaries.

It will be interesting to discover if this change is accepted at community level; SG should not assume that switching grants gives them control of community action. SENScot started with zero funding and, over the years, inspired and supported hundreds of frontline SEs. These SE networks no longer need a SENScot. If a couple of brave leaders step forward, they would find a ready-made new intermediary. It’s difficult for the ‘suits’ to understand – but real social entrepreneurs don’t give much thought to their salary/pension plans – they just go for it.


The Westminster Govt’s disgraceful lack of compassion for Ukrainian refugees is so out of synch with public opinion, that I’ve been wondering why. This John Harris article in the Guardian explains that, out of the normal structures of Parliament, a faction around Nigel Farage is putting pressure on the Conservative Party via its right flank. Harris says that a “loose but highly influential hard-right coalition has cohered”. They have several ‘torch carriers’ in the Cabinet – which would explain why the likes of Priti Patel has not been sacked. If true, this amounts to a transformation in Tory politics – insufficiently understood. Harshness to refugees is policy shaped by fear – that a party could emerge to outflank them on the right.


Far from the ugliness of right-wing posturing, last Friday, Gabriel Boric was inaugurated as President of Chile, at the age of 35; his politics inspired by the democratic socialism of Salvador Allende. This Open Democracy article spells out just how massive a challenge Boric faces, but his very existence gives some of us a lift. Chile is once again a laboratory of social change.


This Conversation piece confirms that Paramount Pictures is commemorating the 1972 release (50 years) of The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola’s masterwork. I have the 3 DVDs at home, and often reflect of the power of this story. Both Vito Corleone and his son, Michael, intended to remove their family from criminality – but discovered that certain of our actions leave no way back.


Enjoyed this Gerry Hassan article in Scottish Review, about Gordon Brown’s ‘inaccurate take on Scotland’; he clearly admires Brown and, in my opinion, is too forgiving.


Grim as it is, particularly during this cost of living crisis, we need to remain aware that Scotland has thousands of kids already locked in poverty. A new report from think tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), this week, says that Scottish Govt will miss its current poverty targets, and suggests some bold steps to offer crisis support. The Daily Record offers a concise overview.


This article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) asks if record waiting lists are heading for a two tier healthcare system in the UK – those who can afford to ‘go private’ and those who have to wait. The article says that the main barrier to the recovery of the NHS is the lack of healthcare staff – or even a proper workplace plan to recruit and train them. Private healthcare suffers the same lack.


In his book, ‘Homo Deus: a brief history of tomorrow’ (2015), Yuval Noah Harari is excited by the possibilities which bioscience and genetic technology offer to improve and prolong life – but, he tells us, some improvements will be expensive and available only to the wealthy.  A gap already exists in life expectancy between rich and poor; in a couple of decades, he says, health inequality will widen to a chasm.  Harari argues that our society in founded on humanist principles which assume certain levels of equality.  He predicts that this widening gap will tear apart western liberal democracy. Gross inequality destroys social democracy.