Senscot Bulletin 12-12-2003



Dear members and friends,


Chucking out stuff last week – including 200 folders, files,
reports dated 1990-2000 – ten years as a consultant.  “Consultant what?”, 
friends asked – good question. 
Now just six bin bags – awaiting the shredder.  A voice on Radio 4 says, “Part of what we are is our
understanding of what has happened to us in the past.  This intrigues me.  Spend
Wednesday morning sifting – remembering all those projects – moving the stuff
to the recycling skip.  ‘To think I did
all that’ – and some of it was good. 
Surprising energy and imagination – maybe less would have been better –
certainly less booze.

            The star
prize was a ‘lost’ folder full of childhood memories.  A faded year book from my old boarding school dated 1950 –
picture of me aged 10 wearing long grey beard, Arab head dress, striped
dressing gown. Caption says, “L.Demarco as St Peter gave an emotional
performance”.  I remember the episode
clearly.  On the morning of the play I
was called to the headmaster’s room – handed a telegram which informed me that
my older cousin who used to look after me has died during heart surgery.  “Are you alright Demarco?”  “Yes Sir – thank you Sir”.  Crying was discouraged – ‘Commandos feel no
pain’.  The play went well enough until
my solo speech.  Off stage I am heard
denying Christ – thrice.  A cock
crows.  I enter the empty, silent stage
and fall on my knees – full of remorse. 
My real pent up grief takes over. 
I burst out crying.  Get my words
out in gasps – between racking sobs. 
Brought the house down.  Standing



Recently this bulletin suggested that responsibility for
Social Enterprise in Scotland was to move across from Margaret Curran’s Social
Justice Department to Jim Wallace’s Enterprise and Life Long Learning
Department.  Our information was
mistaken.  Senscot would support such a
move as it would bring us in line with the DTI’s Social Enterprise Unit in
London – but it’s been decided that Social Enterprise will remain, in the
Scottish Executive’s terms, indistinguishable from the wider social
economy.  It also looks as though the
long awaited Social Economy Action Plan is still being discussed by the
Ministerial team with no launch date yet and January now unlikely.  The lack of urgency is demoralising.

            On the
positive side it seems that a dedicated social economy team is to be created
within the Voluntary Issues Unit with a full time equivalent of three
posts.  The team would become a centre
of specialist expertise about the social economy within the Executive with
links to all Executive departments.  It
would be their remit to know what’s going on in the Scottish sector but also to
connect to England and wider.  Senscot
hopes that the new team will adopt the radical policy of acknowledging



Work towards the reform of Charity Law in Scotland is moving
forward on programme for the publication of a draft bill next Spring.  As promised the drafting process will
involve the full range of voluntary and charity sector interests as represented
in a carefully selected ‘reference group’ (

            Experts in
the field of charity law will be interested in a ‘significant’ recent ruling
whereby the English Charity Commissioners gave charitable status to a community
owned internet cafe.  ( 



An article in Wednesday’s Guardian says that the VFI –
voluntary finance initiative – is currently being trawled through Westminster
and Whitehall as an alternative method to the much criticised PFI – private
finance initiative – for delivering public services (  As we reported recently, the case for
long-term contracts  (ten to twenty
years) to allow not-for-profit organisations to have a real impact on service
delivery has been argued recently by, amongst others, Will Hutton and ACEVO’s
Stephen Bubb:(



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 33 vacancies, including posts at Edinburgh Cyrenians,
Capital City Partnership, Turning Point Scotland, The Edinburgh Home Link
Partnership, North Glasgow Arts Regeneration Network.


EVENTS: Friends Of The Earth Scotland – 25th Birthday
Celebration, Edinburgh, 18 Dec 2003; “Deepening Democracy” free workshop,
Edinburgh, 18-20 Feb 2004; CBS Network’s Gathering, Edinburgh, 15/16 Jan 2004;
CHE Courses: Business & Sustainability; Spiritual Activism, Edinburgh,
Jan-March 2004.


The Upstarts Awards for social entrepreneurs are calling for
nominations, which must be made on line at
before January 7th 2004. Six award categories.


INFO BANK: FREE Environmental Justice Handbooks now
available From Friends of the Earth Scotland – a series of six books to enable
people to campaign for environmental justice in their own communities and on a
global scale. Available to download; also available in hard copy from FOE


For details on these and more:



52% of the public now boycotts the products of companies
they regard as unethical. That’s a finding of The Co-op Bank’s Ethical
Purchasing Index, which has been analysing the extent of ethical consumerism
over the past four years. The cost to ‘unethical’ companies is now £6.2 billion
a year. Meanwhile, total sales of ethical products rose by 44% from £4.8bn to
£6.9bn from 1999 to 2002. In the same period, the market share of such products
rose by 30%.



Huge disparities in community care funding in Scotland have
been criticised by Care Providers Scotland (CCPS), the national association of
voluntary sector care providers. CCPS-commissioned research says the sector
provides a third  (£200m worth) of
publicly-funded care services, but gets only 16-20% of the Scottish Executive’s
community care budget. This includes providing 85% of mental health residential
places, for only 64% cent of the budget.


This week’s bulletin
profiles a unique dance company set up in Scotland in 1998. Fly Right was
founded by Gary McDonald and Susan Brown as a charitable company  to share their love of social dance. Dancing
had been their hobby rather than profession, but a chance trip to the
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Festival with an Edinburgh band convinced them they
could encourage others to share their experiences. The Fly Right Dance Company
has two distinct forms of activity – Performance and Education. This has
included corporate entertaining, workshops in over 60 schools in North
Ayrshire, tuition for adults and running classes for the Dancebase Centre in
Edinburgh. In 2001, Fly Right won a commendation in the Bank of Scotland Arts
Awards. Further info,



One of my favourite writers, John Le Carré, has a new book,
‘Absolute Friends’, and once again I’m enthralled by ‘the master’. Le Carré, in
his 70s, has in recent years been getting angrier about the general state of
the world – love this tirade about Iraq: “That war on Iraq was illegitimate…
it was a criminal and immoral conspiracy. 
No provocations, no link with al Qaeda, no weapons of Armaggedon.  Tales of complicity with Osama were
self-serving bull****.  It was an old
colonial war dressed up as a crusade for Western life and liberty, and it was
launched by a clique of war-hungry Judaeo-Christian geopolitical fantasists who
hijacked the media and exploited America’s post-Nine Eleven psychopathy.”

His greatest character, George
Smiley, has become for me a trusted friend – keeping us all safe from the bad
guys; human, vulnerable – courageous, vigilant.  Italo Calvino wrote, “In life only a few things matter – if you
don’t want to end up in a bleak world – be vigilant.”


That’s it for this week. Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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