Senscot Bulletin 09-05-2003

MAY 2003



Dear Members and friends,


In superstore on Monday buying ink cartridges for my
printer.  3 cartridges: £46 – It costs
me £10 per month for ink – basically it’s a scam.  Visa transaction complete when cashier asks me to put my
thumbprint on receipt – I press inkpad and make print.  Immediately regret it.  What’s this for?  To go in some master computer? 
This should be resisted.  “No” I
say “I’ve changed my mind – I want my print back.”  “What!”  fuss ensues – she
tries to bully me “Why did you give it to me in the first place?”  “Don’t know – but I want it back” I feel
righteous – like a civil rights activist. 
“Only my manager can cancel this sale” – I shrug, “get him then.”  Young manager arrives, he realises I’m wound
up.  We go through entire sales
procedure again – with bad grace – I retrieve thumbprint.  “You’ll find that this practice will soon be
widespread,” he says, “Why?” “to prevent credit card fraud.”  “Listen” I say, “all this is to stop us
stealing the bank’s money – but tell me – how do we stop them stealing
ours?”  My voice was raised.  Incident made me feel bad/unwell.

            I was born
on 10/05/40 so tomorrow/Saturday is my Birthday. Anne’s in Southampton visiting
her sister but she’ll phone to tell me where she’s hidden my ‘pressie’ – It’s
less embarrassing opening presents over the phone – no one can see your puzzled
look when you say, “Wow! This is just what I wanted!”

            For my
Birthday treat I’m going to walk up my beloved, wind swept Gullane hill which
is a very special place.  The light –
the sea air – the marvellous views – the song of the skylarks and peewits – may
help me to reflect that 63 year old people should be beyond having temper
tantrums at the checkout.



STOP PRESS: The internationally renowned
social entrepreneur Bunker Roy, of Barefoot College, India, will talk in
Edinburgh this Tuesday, 13 May, Quaker Meeting Room, 4-6pm. Come and meet him.
Free, but please e-mail



The Executive’s policy for the support of the social
enterprise sector (now dubbed the purple report) appeared in January and a few
million pounds was announced to get things moving.  Since then the key civil servants have been meeting and taking
soundings to decide what to fund. 
Presumably, when the new minister for social justice is announced next
week an initial joined-up programme of initiatives can be agreed and we can see
the shape of their priorities. But a word of caution: Compared to England we
have fallen way behind and our sector is not valued by the Scottish Parliament.
For the foreseeable future it may be prudent to hitch to the English wagon



In July last year Eddie George committed the Bank of England
to “review the provision of debt and equity finance to social
enterprises.”  This review is mostly
complete and Senscot has acquired a copy of the draft report and Simon has
posted the summary (three pages) on our website.  We emphasise this is a draft – not for quoting.



Jackie Kemp wrote in Tuesday’s Herald, “In terms of
representation, Scotland has come along way since the pre-parliamentary days
when it was ruled by 400 quangos and a grand committee packed with English Tory
MPs.  So little attention was paid to
Scottish affairs that most Scots were not even aware of problems such as the
low rate of economic growth.”  We can be
pleased with the way in which proportional representation has delivered new
fresh independent energy. Now we need to make sure that the local government
system is also reformed.  In Glasgow,
Labour won 90% of the council seats (71 out of 79) with just 47% of the votes
actually cast.  All the other parties
together got just eight seats for their 53% of the vote. That is not a fair
voting system.  If the allocation of
seats had reflected the votes cast, Labour would have won 38 seats, the SNP 16,
the SSP 13 and the Tories and the Lib-Dems six seats each.  The Lairds of the Labour fiefdoms will not
go without a fight – over 30 in Glasgow alone would be chopped. Before anything
else gets discussed in the coalition the Lib Dems have got to nail this one.



NOTICES: See ‘Listings’ at
for more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant
notice you’d like posted, send it to


Centre for Human Ecology ‘ Dialogues & AGM – Sowing the
Seeds of Change’, 9.30am – 4.00pm Fri 30 May , 12 Roseneath Place, Edinburgh.


‘Being a good social economy employer’, 22 May, 9.30am-4pm,
Wynd Centre, Paisley, conference to raise awareness of new (April 2003)
employment legislation and consider financial & operational impacts of the
changes. More: Fiona, RCVS, 0141 587 2487,


Business Services – In response to enquiries, members can
now have information posted at the ‘business’ listings page at Policy is this will be free
for members for foreseeable future; for non-members, £20. Contact


“Is social enterprise a brief flowering under the benevolent
sun of New Labour or is it a deep shift in the guts of the economy?” That’ss
the question to be explored from 17-19 June on a course being run by The Cats
Pyjamas in Merseyside. E-mail – 


The editor of the ‘Regeneration and Renewal’ weekly magazine
enjoys our bulletin and sent reporter Nick Loney up with a photographer to
interview me.  The piece appeared in
today’s issue, and Simon has put it on our site:



This week’s profile is a Glasgow-based arts organisation
involved in developing arts-led community regeneration. Since its founding
in1984 Fablevision has worked throughout Scotland and abroad, developing
projects, delivering training as well as specially commissioned pieces of work.
Its work covers three main areas – education, commercial commissions and their
Creative Communities Programme. Over the years, it’s been directly involved in
formation of professional theatre companies, renovation of disused buildings,
new community enterprises and the creation of park space for community use.
Fablevision is a public limited company with charitable status and is largely
self-sustaining. More:  (Project Profile)



The Chancellor Gordon Brown has a piece in today’s Scotsman
which is interesting from the point of view of discerning the kind of society
our leaders envision. School for Social Entrepreneurs in Fife gets a mention.
To read about ‘transformative philanthropy’, (



“A church in Sheepy Magna, Leicestershire has been licensed
to sell stamps and pay out pensions for parishioners after the village post
office closed.”  This item is reported
humourously in Wednesday’s Society Guardian but of course these are serious
issues. On Wednesday we heard on the news that the post office in Newmills in
Fife is now also the police station with the postmistress offering certain
police services under contract.  Such
innovative combinations could save threatened rural communities and this is
fertile territory for social entrepreneurs.



In Ridley Scott’s, “Gladiator” the late Richard Harris
played the part of Marcus Aurelius the Roman sage whose ‘meditations’ have just
been newly translated for the first time in a generation.  What is the enduring appeal of this book of
wise sayings written around AD 160? 
Marcus’s priority is to help us endure – instruction in the art of
forbearance.  “All of this has happened
before,” he says, “the same plot from the beginning to end, the identical
staging.  People repeat themselves from
generation to generation,” and there is nothing we can do about it.  But stoicism doesn’t mean quiescence.  “Do everything as if it were the last thing
you were doing in your life,” he advises – you can commit injustices by doing
nothing.  Above all, strive to make
yourself a better person.  Control your
arrogance.  Stop getting angry with
stupid and unpleasant people.  Be
upright, modest, straightforward and cooperative.  Discard your vain ambitions, accept that you’re “miniscule,
transitory, insignificant,” and you can begin to play your little part in the
interconnected whole: “Things push and pull on each other, and breathe
together, and are one.”


That’s all for this week. Hope to see you on Tuesday.


Best wishes,



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