Senscot Bulletin: 09.03.12

Dear members and friends,

 I’m a big fan of Nick Nolte – both on the screen and in life; politically he’s a ‘leftie’, professionally he’s constantly at odds with the Hollywood system – a true maverick spirit.  An Observer interview reminds me that he is now 71 (my age).  I wonder if he still ‘walks on the wild side’.  Nolte says "Everyone chases a bit of what they believe life’s about – money, power, desire, whatever.  But when you stop chasing, you realise that life’s a rhythm and is very peaceful – very quiet".
 I sometimes glimpse this ‘quiet rhythm’ in the garden – where I was this week for the first time in ages – almost time to get the mower out again!  Along with the spring bulbs – moles have erupted all over our hamlet (the mild winter?); plenty wind damage, but the frost didn’t get much.  Big news, in the parallel world of nature around my cottage – is the arrival of a nuthatch to the bird table.  Blue/grey and rust – black eye band – it’s a wee miracle of a thing – with plenty attitude.
 Another reason I respect Nick Nolte is that, like myself, he’s a drunk who doesn’t touch the stuff.  He recognises the self destructive part of himself – and faces it down – everyday.  No-one knows why some people go over the cliff – while others make it back from the edge.  Is it profound inner fortitude – or pure luck?  There’s an essential humility about Nolte which may have tipped the scales in his favour. (See end piece)

"There is no one person more responsible than Rupert Murdoch – for the pollution of the press and public life of Britain." That’s what Dennis Potter said in 1994 shortly before he died; in the ensuing 18 years – Murdoch’s influence has been more degrading than even Potter could have imagined. Alex Salmond’s recent genuflection to this corrupt media tycoon is a major error of judgement – revealing his own lack of moral compass. Looking towards constitutional change – we Scots seek a visionary leader – to assert the moral values that will underpin a fairer society; I have been deluded about Salmond’s credentials as a social democrat. What did he say? That Scotland will be a beacon for progressive politics in the whole of the UK. What an embarrassment. See,

"A report on deer in the Scottish Highlands is a sycophantic paean to Balmorality and landed power." This is how George Monbiot this week reacted to the propaganda of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association. Like many of us, Monbiot considers it disgraceful that the Highlands of Scotland still have one of the most concentrated landholding patterns in the world – a legacy of the Clearances – when commoners were driven from the land. The returning of land to the people will be a great symbolic achievement – when it comes. See,

In January 2009, the Icelandic people brought their parliament down – and since then they have been engaged in one of the most remarkable examples of citizen participation of our time. On 30th March in Edinburgh, there will be a chance to hear about the process first hand – a working lunch with Thorvaldur Gylfason – economist and member of their Constitutional Assembly. See,  On a similar theme – this Saturday, 10th March in Glasgow – a showing of the film, GNARR and panel discussion. How Iceland’s favourite comedian became Mayor of Reykavik. See,

A healthy contingent from Senscot went to hear Muhammad Yunus in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening – packed house. Again, this is an individual with a natural humility which is magnetic. I got to ask a question: does he support the English understanding of social enterprise/business – which allows 50% dividend payments – or the Scottish zero dividend norm? Big smile from Yunus – "I favour the Scottish version – if you want private profit, set up a private business – when you try to mix social benefit and private profit, things gets very complicated." See,

I enjoyed this article in Resurgence by David Boyle – exploring where ideas and creativity come from – it’s called ‘Out of Silence’. He quotes Freud, referring to ‘sources between heaven and earth – not yet opened up to science’. Most unFreudian. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Gowrie Care Ltd, Alness Transition Town Group, Impact Arts, Sustaining Dunbar, Deafblind Scotland, Action for Children, Scottish Women’s Aid, Social Enterprise Scotland, FEAT Enterprises
EVENTS: West End Women’s Heritage Walk, 11 Mar; Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, 17 Mar; The Value of Carers’ Centres, 19 Mar; Free training for Enterprise Mentors, 21 Mar;
TENDERS: Future Options and Opportunities for Aspire2gether, Support to Social Enterprise in Fife, Graphic Design and Installation for a Series of Commissions for Riverside Inverclyde and Sub-Contractor Packages for Time Capsule. For more, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week, GSEN and the Yunus Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) launched the GSEN/Yunus Centre Social Business Award. At the launch, Susan Aktemel (Impact Arts and GSEN Chair), sharing the platform with Muhammad Yunus at a masterclass for GCU students and staff,  spoke about the work of Impact Arts as well as GSEN’s ambitions for Glasgow as a social enterprise city. The Award is open to any student at GCU – under graduate or post graduate. The prize is in two parts: Up to £1,000 in travel and subsistence to visit and learn from a relevant social enterprise leader on the international stage; and £1,000 in mentoring from a leading Scottish social entrepreneur to develop their business concept. See more,  For more Networks News, see

Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) is looking to recruit a permanent CEO. As the collective voice for social enterprise and its supporters in Scotland, this appointment will play a key role in leading the Scottish social enterprise over the coming years. See,  Also, last week, Impact Arts began its own recruitment process to fill the shoes of founder/director, Susan Aktemel, who has intimated her intention to take a step back. See,

The ‘Developing New Markets’ programme is keen to get feedback from commissioning and procurement staff working in public agencies –  to ensure that the programme can meets their needs. A new Commissioners’ Survey has been developed. The more responses received, the more informed the programme will be. See,

Would your organisation benefit from some statistical consultancy work? If so, Scottish Govt is offering up to 10 days consultancy from Govt analysts. Projects could involve bringing together evidence, management and analysis of data, presenting evidence with impact or helping structure and quantify strategic problems. It is something they hope to run on an ongoing basis but, for this round, would welcome response by Friday 5th April. See more,

Reminder – closing date for booking your place at the SE Exchange is Tuesday 13th March. Over 1,000 delegates from 20 different countries will be attending the world’s biggest SE event on 27th March at the SECC in Glasgow. To book, see

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise based in Cupar in Fife that provide free or low cost household goods to disadvantaged families and individuals to relieve poverty across North and North East Fife. Castle Furniture Project (CFP), set up in 1992,  has developed a strong partnership with Fife Council and as well as offering a furniture service, also offers marginalised groups opportunities to work in a safe and supportive environment. CFP was recently a recipient of an Enterprise Growth Fund award. See more,

Nick Nolte talking about his mother.

 "My mother, Helen, was a plain unsentimental speaker – she once said of me ‘I like Nick – I always have’ I liked her too – a lot.  I got much of my rebellious streak from her.  She had a battle with society about the role of women.  Before it was acceptable she insisted on going out to work. She told all the neighbours, ‘If you see my kids coming home from school for lunch; they make their own food. I am Helen Nolte and I work.’ My mother chose me to sit with her while she died.  I was with her for four days.  I was 60.  It wasn’t as mother and son, that goes right out of the window.  It’s just soul to soul, you’re there as a witness.  You can’t sit there as the son and go, ‘Gee, don’t die, this is hurting!’  You’re there to help her let go.  Am I scared of my death?  No.  My mother didn’t look scared at all.  She was conscious until the end.  She showed me how to die.  That experience was beyond description."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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