Senscot Bulletin: 10.11.17

Dear members and friends,
Thousands of men in ‘powerful’ positions must be losing some sleep just now – in case past, ‘inappropriate’ approaches to women might surface in the media.  The prevailing culture, which normalises men sexually pestering women, was notably advanced in my lifetime by Harold Robbins 1961 book, the Carpetbaggers.  It features full-on, guilt-free hedonism – including violent misogyny; it’s also one of the most-read novels in modern times.

Our society still celebrates bullying, ego-centric men who pursue and cling to power with ruthless determination; such driven characters often consider any women, around their ‘court’ as fair game for sexual advances – ranging in severity from ‘mildly embarrassing’ to criminal sexual assault.  This ‘wham, bam, thank you, ma’am’ coarseness infects every level of our society – including, evidently, Donald Trump. Due process is important to ensure justice – but whether public or private sector – whether high flyers or drones – people who abuse power in this way must be stopped or removed.  I’m confident that, in due course, the US electorate will make their own arrangements.

Usual café, usual table, usual coffee and carrot cake, enjoying my newspaper; then three young mums, with five toddlers, arrive at next table: breach of the peace.  But gradually I find myself listening to an interesting conversation – about the behaviour of wee boys and girls – the differences.  Someone remarks that boys tend to be more ‘thrusting’ – general agreement.  I reflect that this is probably true – mostly; but as they grow up, boys will learn that they are required to regulate their aggression; this is non-negotiable.



Mild weather allowed unusually late garden flowers this year – but Saturday morning, my windscreen was iced-up for the first time – grateful for my warm house. Two of our major UK charities issued a warning this week that Universal Credit is a ‘colossal failure’ – (a further million children into poverty); and Shelter revealed that homelessness in Scotland has reached 28,297 households (estimated 5000 sleeping rough). Many citizens without a warm house. Our backdrop to all this was the Paradise Papers, revealing the devious mechanisms which enable the very rich to routinely avoid paying their taxes. One wonders how close the UK electorate is to demanding major change. Blair and Brown destroyed the Labour Party – Thatcher’s children: but Corbyn represents a very different vision.



Mondoweiss is an independent website from the progressive Jewish community devoted to the struggle for Palestinian human rights; it carries a piece this week about Saturday’s 15,000 strong March in London, protesting the Balfour Declaration. This article is about the Canadian journalist Neil McDonald who wrote recently that it’s time to call a duck a duck: ‘Israel is an apartheid state’. It speaks of a ‘firewall’ around US support for Israel which makes the word ‘apartheid’ radioactive; the firewall seems to be crumbling though – around two dozen mainstream individuals are cited who are beginning to call a duck a duck.



In a Spectator piece from April 2017 Ross Clark wrote: “It’s one of the greatest mysteries of modern British politics: how private schools managed to survive three periods of Labour govt. with their tax breaks intact”. In Scotland, the private sector only educates 4% of the population – but they are positioned at the top of our institutions – where they lobby on the charitable status issue; everyone knows that OSCR ‘bottled it’. The recent Barclay Review surprised everyone with its blunt findings: private schools are not charities and should pay business rates. Now we’ll see if the SNP have more distance from privilege than Labour had.



In April this year, the UK Crown Estate spawned Crown Estate Scotland – all revenue profit from its operations will now be retained in Scotland (approx. turnover £18m).  In a press release this week, the new body committed to pilot ‘new models of local management’, which must mean they will explore ways of sharing with local communities, including development trusts, decisions about Crown land and assets.  This summary of the assets they manage gives a feel for the potential scope of future community enterprise development.  They own most of Scotland’s beaches – high tourist potential.



NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See our jobs and events pages this week:

JOBS: Leith Community Crop in Pots; Beacon Arts Centre; Bridgend Inspiring Growth; Social Investment Scotland; Social Enterprise Academy; Isle of Luing Community Trust; Fortune Works (Enable Glasgow).

EVENTS: Coalfields Community Challenge closing date, 10th Nov; The 2017 Social Enterprise Census – an Edinburgh perspective, 16th Nov; Preparing for the Procurement Process, 20th Nov.

TENDERS: Green Waste Composting – The Highland Council, Harris Tweed Products for Retail – VisitScotland, Stockiemuir Path Project – East Dunbartonshire Council. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: This year’s Dragons’ Den at the SE Conference (7th / 8th Dec) will focus on ‘collaboration’ between social enterprises. Applications are invited for ‘pitches’ from SEs either delivering or planning to deliver a new or amended service by working in partnership with others – see Application Form (Closing date Friday 24th Nov). Prize money for the winning pitch will come in the form of support/services/products etc from SEN members or intermediaries to the value of £5k – in keeping with our theme of ‘collaboration’. Examples would include business support, marketing/branding, IT/web development, venue hire, catering, training etc. We are now inviting ‘offers’ from SEN members and intermediaries for these support services. Those offering these services would, of course, be paid at an agreed rate etc. If you have a service to offer, please email Some overnight places still available. If interested, see Booking Form. Also available is our draft Delegate Pack – which will be updated weekly in lead up to the event.



In his new book – Out of the Wreckage – George Monbiot speaks of the importance of framing a new political narrative to replace the ‘self-serving racket’ of neoliberalism. He reminds us that the evolutionary progress of humankind has not been enabled by our ferocity in battle – but by our capacity for empathy and sharing – ‘spectacularly unusual in nature’. Monbiot configures a ‘politics of belonging’, to revive community life; a rich participatory culture – where thousands of social projects and enterprises comprise a major part of local economies. This recent interview with Mark Karlin was published in the US non-profit Truthout.



Scotland’s SE Awards were announced this week at an event at Holyrood. The Awards are organised by Social Enterprise Scotland and winners go forward to a SE UK event in London later this year. It was good to see frontline SEs (and SEN members) being recognised for their work. Winners included Grassmarket Community Project, CRNS and Instant Neighbour amongst others. Congrats all round. See full list.



One of the actions within our recent SE Strategy for Scotland (Action 1D.2 – Planning Local Action) was to see the development new SE Plans and Strategies to ‘help to drive growth of the sector in every part of Scotland’. Glasgow City Council got the ball rolling this week by opening up a consultation process – inviting SEs from across the city to contribute ideas and issues to help develop a new SE Strategy for Glasgow. Further good news is that the Strategy will be co-produced with Glasgow SEN – and will act as a framework for the development of the social enterprise sector in the city. We also hear that similar initiatives are currently under discussion in Edinburgh and Dundee – again with local SENs actively involved.



This week’s bulletin profiles The Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh. The Tower acts as a community arts hub with a particular focus on digital access, high-quality educational facilities and arts spaces. Facilities also include two digital cinemas – bringing in a steady revenue stream to supplement its other community activities. The Tower’s digital operation includes one of only two authorised Apple Training centres in Scotland, providing digital skills training courses from Apple Computing and others, with free iPad classes available to seniors to improve digital engagement. The Tower was also host last week to a hugely successful Community Learning Exchange on Community Cinema – with 19 organisations participating.



From “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunru Suzuki


‘There is no way set up for us.  Moment after moment we have to find our own way.  Some idea of perfection set up by someone else, is not the true way for us.  Each one of us must make our own true way, and when we do, that way will express the universal way.  This is the mystery.  When you understand one thing through and through, you understand everything.  When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything.’


That’s all for this week.


Best wishes,




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