Senscot Bulletin 16-05-2003

MAY 2003



Dear Members and friends,


I’ve a pathologist friend who won’t eat eggs in the UK
because, she says, of the high risk of being poisoned. I reached the same
conclusion years ago, but on Saturday morning I chanced a fried egg roll. Sat,
Sun, Mon, acute gastro-enteritis (probably salmonella). Confined to bedroom
with en suite toilet – didn’t know what end it was coming out of next. Reminded
of similar bout of ‘dreaded Lurgi’ in Spain some years ago. In the middle of a
golf course I suddenly know “I need to go – now”. Spot a distant cubicle and
make a run for it. Burst through the door pulling my trousers down and land on
the loo just in time. But its not screwed down and I collapse on the floor in
floods of water etc. Have to discard trousers and pants. Finish round in
waterproofs – faint aroma of sewage.

            Anne and I
are off to Seville tomorrow (Saturday) – no match tickets but not bothered –
Seville is one of the great cities – and the memory of it stays with you. By
coincidence the Andalucian flag is green and white (verdeblanco). The
Sevillianos and Glaswegianos will make a memorable ‘Fiesta verdeblanco’ – to
hell with the football. Through some obscure website we have found a flat to
rent – when the deposit was paid we emailed the guy to clarify address – he
replied promptly: “The address of the apartment is brought to an agreement
Christ of the Expiration, (in front of the buses square of weapons).” I’m glad
we’ve got that straight.



By Tuesday ‘Immodium’ had calmed things sufficiently for me
to go (40 of us) to meet Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy- who I thought was as remarkable
as his reputation. His life’s work – a burning commitment to empower the
village poor in Rajasthan and other parts of India is an outstanding story – of
vision – determination – compassion. Also anger, which, he said, fuelled his
work. Whenever I get the chance to actually meet people like Bunker I feel in
some way ‘realigned’ to true values.



We mentioned recently the Perth gathering – to take forward
the Scottish Executive’s agenda for the social economy. It is already clear
that Perth was not a one-off – that there’s a steady purpose to continue wider
consultations and to arrive at specific action points. Senscot members are
helping with ‘support for social entrepreneurs’, which is one of six themes
being developed. We’ll keep you informed and post interesting documents on our



The political commentator John McTernan in his Sunday column
asserted that a “A truly substantial change in New labour’s vision of welfare
reform is emerging.” The philosophical context which McTernan cites is the
‘hugely influential’ book, ‘The Shield of Achilles’ by Philip Bobbitt, which
argues that the welfare state as we know it is doomed. Global economic
pressures undermine national boundaries – consumer expectations of services –
health, pensions etc are not deliverable. A new model of state organisation is
taking shape, ‘the market state’:  “For
those with fond memories of the cradle-to-grave welfare state, this is a harsh
vision of a world where the message from the state to its citizens is this: We
can help to guide you through this complex world but we cannot promise to
protect you – fundamentally, you’re on your own.” (  



The Scottish Enterprise network now has explicit
responsibility to assist social enterprise companies. Their new operating plan
contains detailed targets (performance measured) for each of the LECs. As sson
as they are published we’ll circulate. In London the Business Link service has
a development manager for social enterprise called Andy Griffiths and some
encouraging initiatives are reported. The London sector is moving towards
adopting quality standards in business support services – a programme called
‘Customer first’ is being piloted.



The Senscot AGM this year is on Friday 13th June and David
(Lord) Puttnam has confirmed as our guest speaker. We’ve booked ‘The Hub’ in
Edinburgh, which has got a good ambience. You congregate in a kind of posh
‘stair well’ for wee sandwiches and then into a 50-seater meeting room, so put
it in your diary. Starting at 1.30.



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


Community Interest Companies (CIC): a Consultation,
10.45am-1pm (+ lunch), 6 June, Victoria Quay Edinburgh, the DTI will provide a
speaker who’ll outline key features of CICs and take part in debate.  Contact Community Enterprise in Strathclyde, no
later than 22 May.


‘Setting up a Creative Business’ course at Edinburgh
Mediabase, Sat 7 June – turn your bright ideas into a successful business.  1-day workshop covers intellectual property
rights, accounting, funding, marketing, business plans, cashflow, networking.
More info:


One World Festival Peace & Justice Concert, St Mary’s
Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, Sat 21 June, 6.30-10pm, incl. Egyptian,
Nepalese, Buddhist, Celtic, and other music, dance, songs; refreshments in
interval. £4.50/£2.50 on door (opening 5.45pm). Contact: Neill Walker,


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,



Interesting article by Heather Tomlinson in the Independent
(May 11) about the Co-op Group and business ethics. Group head Martin Beaumont
says: “The Co-op can’t survive without profit. It doesn’t deserve to without
principle”. It’s posted at:



This week we profile GalGeal Trust, based in Govan, Glasgow.
It was started in the mid-1990s by a small group of unemployed people wanting
to do something to fight problems of unemployment and poverty, especially the
high incidence of family breakdown and alcohol and drug problems. Adopting the
emblem of the 9th-century GalGael, a birlinn (highland galley or large
rowing-boat), it occurred to them that they could achieve many of their social
objectives by actually building boats. They’ve since built a number of boats,
of varying sizes, and now plan a Norse-Gaelic Longhouse that will double up as
a community centre focussing on ‘skills for living’. The Trust is particularly
on the look out for advice and support and would welcome donations of
entrepreneurial skills. Further info:  (Project Profile) 



Oh happy days! The commitment of our new coalition to
introduce proportional representation in Scottish local government is a major
advance for the cause of local democracy. In the Labour ‘badlands’ attempts at
community empowerment over the years have been systematically crushed – as have
community leaders. The long term implications of this PR decision are colossal.
Over this weekend our newly installed coalition is selecting its cabinet – the
new ministerial team. Will our sector get a new political champion? – Will
Margaret Curran be replaced? – Will Social Justice be replaced?



Bunker Roy spoke on Tuesday with deep anger about ‘the
bureaucrats’, those faceless men and women the world over – in governments – in
big powerful corporations like the world bank – the mandarins who resist
risk/change – who are proud to be considered dispassionate. When we wrote
recently that “It’s not ‘cool’ for civil servants to appear overly
‘passionate’, a reader reminded me of Chekhov’s ‘The Exclamation Mark’: “senior
civil servant has written tens of thousands of reports in his day and is
discussing grammar/punctuation with his wife, a teacher of language. She
explains to him that  exclamation  marks convey emotion – anger, humour,
passion. He reflects briefly and, sheepishly and guiltily, admits that in all
of the reports he has written over many years he has never ever used an
exclamation mark!”


Thanks, Frank, for reminding me of the riches of Chekhov’s


That’s all for this week. Wishing you many exclamations
marks in your adventures!

Best wishes, Viva Sevilla!




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