Senscot Bulletin 03-10-2003




Dear members and friends,


I remember years ago reading a book called ‘The Last Angry
Man’ and that the hero made a lasting impression.  Sam Ableman is a tough, old, crabbit family doctor who has toiled
all his working life in the same grimy Brooklyn slum.  He’s a good man – motivated by basic human decency – but he’s too
blunt – confrontational for his own good. 
His scrupulous integrity expresses itself as belligerence.  Although he is a dedicated G.P his practice
is shrinking – he has no money to retire or move.  But he won’t change.  I
suppose what I took from Sam was the importance of staying angry – of resisting
the grubby culture of lies and greed and sloppiness, which is always
there.  When the bank debits your
account ‘by mistake’ – when the restaurant charges good money for ‘bad food’ –
when the parking warden pounces from his lair – it’s so easy to ‘go quietly’.

            Going up
town on the bus recently – youngsters upstairs causing a rumpus.  Driver warns them – but gets abuse – so he
parks and calls for assistance.  Four 12
year olds come bounding and shouting downstairs – leaving the bus one of them
spits on the driver.  I want to do an
Arnold Schwarzenegger – grab them and bang heads together – but I see reflected
in the window – an agitated old guy wearing a surgical neck brace – me.  I try to say something supportive to the
driver – plastic traffic cone bounces off windscreen.  Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to use our anger.



Both Brown’s and Blair’s performances at the Labour Party
conference reminded me of Groucho Marx’s quote, “The secret of acting is
sincerity – one you can fake that – you’re made.”  Ian McWhirter in Wednesday’s Herald writes, “What an
extraordinary party Labour has become. 
One day Gordon Brown gets a standing ovation for a speech replete with
old Labour references; the next day Tony Blair gets and even bigger ovation for
parading himself as Margaret Thatcher in drag – Labour now provides the
government in the shape of rightist Blair and the opposition of leftish Brown –
Perhaps it is all a devilish Mandelsonian plot to corner the political
market…The opposition parties don’t so much need new policy agendas as a
referral to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission”.  Stuart Hall casts some light on this Labour ‘double shuffle’ in a
recent Guardian piece.  (



Under the general heading of ‘The Global Justice Movement’
Scotland has hundreds of groups which work for a just, sustainable society –
many explicitly in opposition to a world dominated by capital.  Some of these energies are converging into
thematic networks – the physical environment – progressive economics – local
empowerment etc.  But Senscot has been
discussing for some time the need for some ‘connecting; mechanism.  How can all these different, particular
points of energy build into a more substantive and coherent vision.  This is not Senscot’s role and probably the
most suitable model is that of the World Social Forum (WSF) which ‘is not a
group – nor an organisation’.  It calls
itself ‘an open space for dialoging’.  A
small group of social entrepreneurs have therefore decided to create the
Scottish Social Forum (SSF) which will be inspired by and in dialogue with the
WSF as a ‘Regional Network’.  If you would
like to be looped into these discussions e-mail us.  We are looking to raise £10,000 for initial development costs. (



A report published this week about homelessness in Glasgow
concludes that the situation is worse than official figures estimate.  Commissioned by Glasgow City Council and
written by Dr David Morrison (a public health expert) the report says that a
staggering 6000 people with serious drink problems apply to the council each
year for help with homelessness. 
Maureen McKinnon who runs the new Clyde Street assessment unit confirms
that the levels of addiction in the city are ‘astounding’.  The report says that surveys in the past
have missed large numbers of young single men who make up the bulk of the
problem in Glasgow.  The truth is no one
knows how to tackle this problem and it could take many years to resolve.  (



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 13 vacancies, including posts at Inverclyde Community
Development Trust, Broomhouse Centre, Learning Link Scotland, Community And
Voluntary Organisations Council, BTCV.


EVENTS: Theatre Nemo performance, Edinburgh, 9 Oct;
Leadership Calling Workshop Oct 19-25; ‘Connector’ arts and community event,
Glasgow, Oct 25; Social Enterprise Procurement Conference, Oct 29; EDAS
conference Oct 31; Engender Training Sept & Oct; SEDI Training Days
Sept-Nov; ‘Zero Waste’ recycling conf, Edinburgh, Nov 6-6;  Falkirk College Enterprise Day, Nov 12
(revised date);


CAN YOU HELP/BUSINESS: Gorbals Heritage & Environment
Trust are seeking a group or organisation to share Southern Necropolis


LINKS: The Nolly Barge, previously profiled in the bulletin,
now has a website,,

as does employment and re-employment organisation Startover:


PUBLICATIONS: ‘eSP’ – monthly update on Scottish Parliament,
available at;
Centris report (publ. 6 Oct) argues movement of vol. sector to partnership with
government in service delivery is a mistake:;
New unLTD briefing compares social and business entrepreneurship:;


For details on these and more:



CAN YOU HELP: Member, Bill Munsie from Access North Ayr
(ANA) raises an issue which may well be relevant to a number of our
readers.  His organisation has been
refused a grant from ‘Transforming Waste Scotland’ on the grounds that selling
recycled white goods, while receiving grant aid, would be unfair competition to
other traders under European legislation. 
Bill says that both the Scottish Executive and the European Union want
Community Enterprises to operate in this market and understand that they need
grants and soft loans on the path to trading viably.  A way needs to be found to get investment finance to social
enterprises within the State Aid regulations. 
E-mail Senscot – we’ll loop contributors.  (



This week’s bulletin profiles a
co-operative, based in Edinburgh, that has been around for 14 years. The
Graphics Company
is a design and print co-operative business that has
a commitment to working with the voluntary, public and social enterprise
sectors in Scotland. Almost 95% of the Graphics Company`s contracts have been
within these sectors which can range from designing invites for local project
launches to working on publicity campaigns for national initiatives. The
Company consists of seven directors who comprise of five designers and two
specialist staff. The Graphics Company also has a satellite office in Glasgow.
Further info’, see
(Project Profiles)



Anne and I invited by friends to a concert at the SECC in
Glasgow on Tuesday evening.  The Italian
tenor Andrea Bocelli accompanied by the British Philharmonic Orchestra – packed
house.  Still recovering from my op. I
was reluctant to be out so late but Anne was keen so I made the effort – and
grateful I did.  With the soprano Maria
Borsi he sang the duet from Act 1 of Puccini’s La Boheme which transported me
to paradise.  I’d forgotten the power of
live music to lift our hearts.



On the same theme – from a German Tourist Brochure – circa
1950, “After the war, very few members were still in possession of their
instruments.  Hardly a musician could
call a decent suit his own.  Yet, by
early summer of 1945, strains of sweet music floated on the air again.  While the town still reeked of smoke,
charred buildings and the stench of corpses, the Philharmonic Orchestra
bestowed the everlasting and imperishable joy which music never fails to give.”


That’s it for this week. Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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