Senscot Bulletin: 06-07-2007

Dear members and friends,

The attack on Glasgow airport last week felt doubly wrong because there’s no way we Scots would have attacked Iraq. I was on the big march on 15th February 2003 when we told the ‘Bliar’ – Don’t go there! A nation surely has the right not to invade another. Thankfully no-one was killed in Glasgow and I must say I enjoyed some of the radio interviews with the “stranded “ – Glaswegians, ever stoical in adversity, coming away with great patter. A guy, directly involved in restraining a suspect told how, “ Me and other folk were just trying to get the boot in – some other guy banjoed him. Bombers should realise this is Glasgow – we’ll just set about you.”
 A journalist pal of mine, on his way to Boston, got caught up in the whole thing. Says that the passengers, mainly weegies, were marvellous – but that the conduct of the airport management (BAA) was shameful – particularly their discourtesy to the public. An American asked my pal what it would take for the Scots to complain – that in the States, if people were treated like this, there would be major ructions. This guy clearly respected the good humour on display, but his tone implied also contempt for a ‘subdued’ people. This story angered me – what a cheek! But no harm in pondering ‘how ithers see us’. Are we Scots in awe of the state – lacking confidence to confront authority? The bravery required to stand up to violent fanatics – doesn’t necessarily transfer to civil and political life. (Browse Bulletin intros here:

The new SNP administration exudes a positive ‘can do’ energy – asking lots of ‘why not?’ questions.  Quite exhilarating. They are determined to simplify structures and today we circulate the new organisational chart – not sure it’s much clearer. Communities Scotland hasn’t been scrapped (decision postponed) and now reports, via the new Minister for Sport and Communities Stewart Maxwell, to Nicola Sturgeon.  The biggest failure of CS’s life so far – a blight on previous administrations – is the failure of Glasgow H.A. to implement secondary housing transfer to 50 local housing associations.  This massive transfer of assets was intended to underpin sustainable anchor organisations in some of the poorest communities in our country – but the management of GHA has defied all political pressure to disperse its empire.  There is no better illustration of the impotency of Labour’s ousted municipalist regime.  For some of us, this issue has come to symbolise a struggle between the old council chicanery and the new local democracy.

The new minister, Stewart Maxwell, has set Communities Scotland ten targets to cover 2007/8, when presumably CS’s future will be decided. Target no 8 caught my eye “By March 08 we will develop proposals to implement empowered status communities and will have invited communities to opt for empowered status.” We understand that a consultation document is being drafted and it will be interesting to learn how ‘empowered status’ is defined. Target no 7 seems to be an attempt to get to grips with the weaknesses in the Community Planning Process as identified in the report by the Audit Office.

Open our website – now press the refresh button – eureka! – big changes. These changes are partly to accommodate the transfer of the Exchange and Directory to First Port.  But we also wanted to give more profile to the local social enterprise networks (LSENs) and to update the ‘About Us’ content about mission/activities etc.  The bulletin section can now browse the intros and the end bits separately.  Note the new Notice Board feature.

We received a big response to last week’s piece about the possibility of facilitating peer support networks for ‘Intrapreneurs’ in the Public Sector and are now looking towards hosting a seminar in September. Aidan will have an update over the next couple of weeks. If you’d like be kept informed, contact

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 

JOBS: 26 vacancies, incl. posts with: Spruce Carpets, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Common Purpose, Beacon Bus, Alienenergy, HISEZ CIC,

EVENTS: 9 events, incl. Earthship Fair, 7 July, Fife; Football And Regeneration – Intangible assets and goodwill, 14 August, Edinburgh; CRNS More then Furniture Conference, 30 August, Glasgow; ‘Social Capital & Financial Inclusion’ International Conference, 9 November, Edinburgh;

The Melting Pot is holding a Pre-Viewing of  its space and services on Monday 16th July, 4.30pm – 7.30pm, 5 Rose St, Edinburgh. Have a look at their progress.

The 2nd Social Enterprise and Health Conference, ‘Fit for Purpose’, is in Glasgow this year at the Trades Hall on 12th September. Senscot is hosting the event again in partnership with the Scottish Forum for Public Health and Communities Scotland. The Booking Form is now available along with a draft programme. See  If you’ve got any queries, contact

Some good news for social enterprises as the Scottish Parliament looks to adopt a ‘responsible purchasing’ policy for the Procurement Services. They will be adopting 4 broad criteria – professionalism, environmental impact, social and ethic issues and SME’s and Scottish suppliers. For more info, see

Tony Cassidy retired last week from Alloa Community Enterprise. A real gentleman, Tony was one of the pioneers of the recycling movement in Scotland and became a great advocate for the social enterprise sector in recent years. We send him our best wishes in his retirement.

This week’s bulletin profiles a new co-operative providing online shopping services for ethically-minded women. Ethics Girls, based in Rosyth, aims to make ethical shopping and having an ethical lifestyle an easier option for women. The shop is full of everything from clothes, to food, gifts as well as more practical items. It will provide basic guides to the main ethical choices, clear product descriptions and customer recommendations. As a co-operative, Ethics Girls wants membership to be at the heart of this enterprise and is developing a structure to include the different groups of people involved: consumers, employees and suppliers. For info’, see

Czes³aw Mi³osz, the Polish poet, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1980 and I’ve been reading his acceptance speech.  He was born in 1911 and lived through ‘The heart of darkness of the 20th century.’  “Events which by their death-bearing range surpassed all natural disasters known to us.”  He says that these experiences gave him “an understanding and a respect and gratitude for certain things which protect people from internal disintegration and from yielding to tyranny.  Above all the bonds between people that exist organically, as if by themselves, sustained by family, religion, neighbourhood, common heritage.  In other words, all that disorderly, illogical humanity, so often branded as ridiculous because of it parochial attachments and loyalties.  In many countries traditional bonds of ‘civitas’ have been subject to erosion.”  (Browse bulletin end bits here:

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

Best wishes.

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Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ is available See: