Senscot Bulletin: 10.01.14

Dear members and friends,

              The basic premise of feminism is that human affairs have, and continue to be, conducted in favour of men – to the detriment of women’s rights; to anyone who thinks at all – this is beyond dispute; in my own humble way I count myself a feminist. So I was absolutely furious recently – to be publicly demolished by a young woman – half my age; her attack was fluent and ferocious – I’m still unclear what I said wrong. The late Doris Lessing once said “I’m not interested in being an icon of feminism – it produced some of the smuggest, most unselfcritical people ever seen. They are horrible”. Calm again – I can see that Lessing’s words are not specific to feminists – over the years I’ve been savaged by zealots of many persuasions, done a bit of savaging myself.
             The point is that my recent brush with a warrior and our speedy descent into insults, anger, acrimony – has reminded me that this is no way to hold useful dialogue, just as the mutual loathing of Scotland’s two main parties debases our entire political discourse. My new resolution – for this year of the referendum – is to behave with respect and courtesy to everyone – friend and foe. My model is the brilliant Mozambique footballer Eusebio who died on Sunday; one of the world all-time greatest players – who showed total respect for everyone. In nine months – cometh the hour – we ordinary citizens will make a momentous decision, let’s not spoil it by being horrid to each other.

Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage. See,

In winding up the major TV series ‘Civilisation’ (1969) – Kenneth Clark gave his choice of the qualities on which he believed human progress depends (see end piece). Among them he identified ‘courtesy’ – “the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people’s feelings by satisfying our own egos”. For many Scots in the months ahead – passions will run high; unfortunately we can depend on the paid politicians for their usual display of studied nastiness. Good letter to the Scotsman from John Sturrock – a professional mediator; he wants us to show the world that Scotland can conduct a civilised and thorough examination of the issues – that leaves a legacy for building a constructive future – whatever the outcome. See,

Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica is a joy – reminds me of Pope Francis; both in their late 70s – live frugally – don’t give a toss for the trappings of office. The priest and the revolutionary Marxist – standing opposed to global capitalism. I’m reminded of the words of Helder Camara “when I feed the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why they’re poor – a communist”. I suppose we all have to decide where we sit on this spectrum. Is our work about charity or real change? See,

Someone sent us a piece by Craig Dearden Phillips – who used to fly the flag of social enterprise – but has gone over to what he calls ‘the big tent’ of private business, see Craig says that those of us who insist that a true SE is ‘asset locked’ – are cultists – on the margin; but I can’t believe he really means this. Most ‘converts’ we encounter, tend to be moving the other way – leaving the big tent for a better lifestyle. This Blake Morrison poem ‘Exit Interview’ captures the vibe. See,

Philosopher Julian Baggiani argues that those of us who claim to be disgusted with the behaviour of the big banks – should consider moving our personal finance to a mutual.

A disparate range of new voices are coming to realise that Scotland is at the very bottom of the league for Local Democracy – reflected in our widespread indifference to the electoral process. Many of us believe that the new Scotland will require new arrangements and one senses that – whether from government or civil society – a fresh initiative will soon emerge to focus on this issue. The Jimmy Reid Foundation Report – the Silent Crisis – offers a good introduction. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: The Reclaimer, Isle of Rum Community Trust, Forth Bridges Festival 2014, The Village Storytelling Centre, RAMH, Moray Reach Out, Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust, Mellow Parenting
EVENTS: TRANSforming Arts, 19 Jan; Wiff Waff Wednesday, 22 Jan; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 25 Jan; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 18 Feb; Facilitator Training, 19 Feb;
TENDERS: Tender for Supply of Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Barras within NHS GG&C, Provision of Social Work Transport – Aberdeenshire Council and Provision of Off Duty Catering for the Police Service of Scotland – Commonwealth Games

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The Sport SEN is hosting its 3rd SE and Sport Conference on 18th March 2014 at the Emirates arena (Chris Hoy Velodrome) in Glasgow. The theme of the event will be “SE & Sport – Inspiring our Leaders”. Keynote speaker is Frank Dick, former director of coaching for British Athletics and now one of the country’s top motivational speakers in the fields of sport and business. Breakout sessions will focus on leadership, business and the power of sport. Space for 120 delegates – the majority of which will be established & aspiring Sport SEN members – as well as colleagues from Sport for Development organisations, Sports Governing Bodies, Local Authorities & Leisure Trusts and other SEs & third sector intermediaries. Book your place here,
For more SENs News, see

Senscot has a couple of offices available for rent at Manor Place, Edinburgh – both of which can accommodate 4 people comfortably. Rent circa £6k per annum. If interested, contact

Very impressed with my old pal Max Cruickshank’s book – Fags, Booze, Drugs and Children; specifically aimed at briefing parents on what they need to know to keep their children safe. Exhaustively researched and written in plain accessible language – this is the book for anyone being run ragged by teenagers. I wonder if anyone on the Senscot network has any ideas/influence to get this book readily available to parents and carers. See,

The first Homeless World Cup took place in 2003 in Austria. Their 12th event will take place this year in Santiago in Chile. What started as a simple idea has grown into a global movement which touches the lives of over 100,000 people every year. Mel Young, founder and president, writes to us with their latest initiative – season tickets (£30 each – for life) to the world’s first virtual football stadium. 10,000 ticket sales will get them started – but their aim is to hit 1 million. Senscot will be signing up for a couple. To sign up, see

Scottish Govt’s Third Sector Division has come out with a refreshed ‘organogram’. Check out who’s who etc,

The first bulletin of 2014 profiles a social enterprise in Glasgow – ‘new two’ – which is the trading arm of the charity, Second Opportunities. Formed in 2002, ‘new two’ adopted responsibility for the commercial services which include the manufacture, import & supply of furniture to the domestic, office, residential and contract markets. All profits from ‘new two’ support the recycling activities of Second Opportunities.
This week, ‘new two’ also became the first subscriber of 2014 to the SE Voluntary Code of Practice – see . For more on ‘new two’, see

Kenneth Clark, Civilisation

“At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is better than ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one of two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.”

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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