Senscot Bulletin: 10.10.14

Dear members and friends,

 This week the bad weather moved into the wee clachan where I live -wind and rain driving against the windows – stripping the leaves from the trees. Up in Edinburgh today in my winter hat and coat – to visit a much recommended café/deli called Earthy Canonmills. The café is warm and friendly with excellent food -one of those ‘right on’ places; sustainable, organic, ethical; but I sense authentic – posh authentic – with dishes like Ethiopian Injera and Sriracha Sauce? The décor looks like someone spent a lot of time – to make it look like no one bothered – a distinctly Edinburgh vibe.
 A smiley, chatty chap recognises me – introduces himself as Colin – worked in the High Street bank I used when I had a disco club – in the late 1960s!  We swap fond remembered escapades from nearly 50 years ago. I ask Colin if life has been good – he happily summarises some family and career highlights – he’s both positive and grateful. Before it’s my turn – his son arrives to collect him; phew! I reflect on how negative I am, in comparison, about my own life.
 Strolling around Edinburgh – I feel affection, for the city of my birth – its streets, its seasons, its moods. Yet today’s first cold rain of winter brings a sadness – that the dark months are here again. I wonder if I can be bothered dragging this old body – to a place where the sun lingers – and maybe I’ll return to fine winter days which are clear and cold and bright; not sad at all. 

Arch Tory Charles Moore says in today’s end piece – that the world economic system – and democratic politics itself – has been captured by an elite of global corporations – who increasingly run and own everything. When George Osborne told the Institute of Directors last week that their world is under attack from, among others, the UK third sector – I had to smile; I just wish it was true George. Organisations like Oxfam, NCVO etc rushed to assure him there is no such conflict. But I agree with George Monbiot in this Guardian piece: “in the face of a full spectrum assault from corporate power, on everything they exist to defend – if these organisations cannot stand up and name the problem – you have to wonder what they are for”.  See,

No one quite knows what’s coming next in Scotland – it’s great! The mainstream political parties are too ‘invested’ to do anything surprising – but there is a vigorous churning counterculture, which cannot be predicted, Commonweal, RIC, Women for Independence, National Collective, Bella Caledonia, Newsnet… I could name another dozen. When the dust settles, it will be fascinating to see what endures; I intend to play my part with the local democracy stream. See,

The ideology of economic growth has a firm grip on our society and beyond – but the reality we all choose to ignore is that there are environmental limits to growth. No political party – except the Greens – is willing to ‘come clean’ about this. This article is about the ecological overshoot; it argues that the poorest billions on our planet still need to attain a dignified level of existence and that the richest nations will require to downsize our consumption. It discusses ‘degrowth’ – to a ‘steady state’ economy. See,

We mentioned in recent bulletins our intention to contribute towards a SE Strategy for Scotland over the coming months – to dovetail in with similar emerging ‘strategies’ from the likes of Scottish Govt; HIE; EU Funding; BIG Lottery etc. As a starting point, we are trawling thoughts and opinions on a range of subjects for a SE submission to the Smith Commission on additional devolution to Scotland. Senscot, with others, would very much appreciate if you could take some time to fill in the attached survey – roughly 20-30mins. This is the first stage of a process in which we hope to include as wide a representation of our SE community as possible. See Survey, . Deadline is Wed, 22nd Oct 2014.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Dundee SEN, Moray Art Centre, Action for Children, Mellow Parenting, Hadeel Fair Trade Palestinian Craft Shop, Blue Triangle, Greener Leith
EVENTS: Creative Macintosh Festival – The Glasgow Girls of Garnethill, 11 Oct; Teddy Parachute Jump, 12 Oct; Nourish 2014 Conference: Our Common Wealth of Food, 16 Oct;
TENDERS: New Skatepark – David Adamson & Partners Ltd, Organisational Development Review – Scottish Enterprise and Project Vision, Activity Planning Research and Community Consultation – Kilmartin House Trust.

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: This week, Senscot and SFS have been attending the EU SEN event in Cyprus – the final EU SEN gathering prior to the Dissemination Conference in Brussels (January 2015). The main themes were ‘Identity and Visibility of Social Enterprise’ and how the new ESF programme can be used to support these across Europe. Three case studies were presented; the Finnish Mark; Italian Social Balance tool; and (France) – not too dissimilar to our own Ready for Business. A lot of intense discussions around asset lock and profit distribution took place – with mixed views. We had an opportunity to share the thinking and principles about the Scottish SE Code. This generated a lot of interest and support. Here’s a link to background paper for the event – also giving an overview of case studies, see  For further info, contact
For more SENs News, see

Application process for the Dragons’ Den at this year’s SE Conference and Ceilidh is now open and we are on the look-out for folk brave enough to step into the ‘Den’! As always £5k goes to the winner. Closing date for entries is Monday 27th October. Five applicants will be shortlisted to face the ‘Dragons’. To apply, see

Good move by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to sponsor an Alternative Social Investment Commission, chaired by David Floyd. More on this as it gets underway. Here’s some background on the Commission’s remit – with further link to its site, listing commissioners etc,

Enjoyed Giles Fraser’s ‘Loose Canon’ column again this week; he says “I don’t just disagree with UKIP – I despise them” – and then tells us why. “But I especially despise them for the way they dress all this up as the protection of something they call Christian England”. Good stuff. Needs said. See,

Regarding last week’s piece about the regulation of businesses which masquerade as CICs – more info. Resulting from a formal ‘freedom of info’ request – the CIC regulators response gives the number of complaints but not names of offenders. What emerges is that with a team of six for the whole UK – this is light touch regulation. See,

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has announced its five finalists for the UK Social Entrepreneur of the year 2014. Of the five, one is from Scotland – Andy Ross (New Caledonian Woodlands). Andy was one of 181 original entrants and the winner will be selected via a public vote – which is now open and runs till 31st Oct. You can vote here, . For more on Andy and New Caledonian Woodlands, see

This week’s bulletin profiles a new initiative from Edinburgh SEN member, the WHALE Arts Centre in Wester Hailes, run with support from Community Enterprise. The WHALE-Pod provides support for individuals seeking to develop their ideas into a business – mainly in the creative/cultural field. On offer is low cost rent on easy ‘in and out’ terms; business development support from Community Enterprise ;access to workshops; the chance to work with others at a similar stage; and support with funding and small amounts of discretionary funding to help get ideas off the ground. For more on the WHALE-Pod and some of its participants, see

Charles Moore, onetime editor of the Telegraph and Spectator – official biographer of Margaret Thatcher – bastion of the Tory establishment – had a ‘brainstorm’ in July 2011 with this article:

“The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few.  Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of these bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything – … and when the banks which look after our money take it away, lose it and then, because of government guarantee, are not punished themselves, something much worse happens. It turns out – as the Left always claims – that a system purporting to advance the many has been perverted in order to enrich the few”.

See full article,

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210