Dear members and friends,
Personally, I don’t waste much reflection on Twitter Trump or Brexit Boris – I think time will see them as posturing, delinquents – let’s hope they don’t break too much. Like many though, I’m increasingly alarmed by the evidence that we are harming the environment of our planet – the beauty of our biosphere. Those of us who work toward a more mutual/ social economy mustn’t get discouraged – must tell ourselves and colleagues that what we do makes a difference. Any sense of futility frightens me more than capitalism.
Around 7pm on Saturday – during a very loud thunderclap – my electricity fails – no heating, phone, wi-fi – nothing; go to bed with a book (and torch). Wake Sunday 6am to cold bleakness – Le Corbusier dubbed a house: ‘a machine to live in’ – mine’s broken and I must get away; escape in car to find conviviality and electricity. I return after eight anxious hours to discover that there never was any power cut; that lightening simply tripped the mains; One switch brings bring my whole ‘machine’ humming back to life.
I wish this incident hadn’t upset me so much – the hierarchy of human needs: how any disruption of our basic comfort and security will quickly displace elevated concerns for the ‘fate of humanity’. I’m not mocking – but sometimes I take myself too seriously. I woke Monday morning much cheerier. This is the end of a poem by Derek Mahon: “I lie here in a riot of sunlight watching the daybreak and the clouds flying. Everything is going to be alright”.
Good positive Observer piece from Will Hutton, who expects right wing dominance, both here and in the US, to be succeeded by a surge from the left – as the ‘extinction rebellion’ generation rediscovers collectivism. The coming turbulence at Westminster will be settled by who wins a much-needed general election – will Jeremy Corbyn’s team get their chance. The German novelist Herman Hesse wrote in a letter: “Humanity and politics are essentially incompatible. Both are necessary, but to serve both at once is hardly possible. Politics demands partisanship, humanity forbids partisanship”. In my lifetime, Jezza is the closest I’ve seen to politics with humanity.
While the PM’s electioneering headlines are about more police and prison places – John McDonnell this week welcomed a report from the New Economics Foundation which calls for more money and holidays for the lowest paid. The report argues that this is the fastest way to boost productivity and the economy.
Over 200 readers followed last week’s link to Gerry Hassan’s piece; I like this response, in Scottish Review, from John Scott of Leith.
This Scotsman piece from Lesley Riddoch, discusses how the campaign for Scottish Independence seems to be gathering more momentum in the English press than in ours – the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins: “If I were a Scot, I’d vote for independence tomorrow. I would want nothing to do with the Westminster shambles”.
The £500k legal fees already incurred in the Alex Salmond case, reminds us that pursuing justice through the courts is increasingly a privilege of the rich. I know lawyers who consciously contribute to ‘a fairer and more equal Scotland’ – but I also know the culture that practices law for the money – as much as they can get.
George Monbiot has posted another piece about the shenanigans of the oil and gas industry. As what he calls the ‘dirtiest industries’, attract least public support – they spend big money influencing/distorting politics. Communities, close to the noxious emissions of both Grangemouth and Mossmorran, are dependent on the integrity and vigilance of regulators like SEPA. Monbiot’s mini-rants now get more of my attention.
There’s a moving meditation right at the end of Camus’ The Outsider, when the condemned man, Meursault lies on the bunk of his prison bed:
“I must have had a longish sleep, for, when I woke, the stars were shining down on my face. Sounds of the countryside came faintly in, and the cool night air, veined with smells of earth and salt, fanned my cheeks. The marvellous peace of the sleep-bound summer night flooded through me like a tide….gazing up and the dark sky, spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.”
Date for your Diary: After a hiatus in 2018 – for a variety of reasons – Senscot, along with Social Firms Scotland and Scottish Community Alliance, will be holding another SE Conference on Monday and Tuesday 25th/26th November – again at the Westerwood Hotel. This year’s theme will be around the notion of community wealth and wellbeing – with a focus on opportunities and challenges for local social/community enterprises in responding to a number of Scottish Govt policy initiatives such as community empowerment, participatory budgeting, place-making, community wealth building etc. The event will look to highlight areas of good practice, sharing of information and debating how organisations can better engage and participate with these agendas. In addition, with a new Action Plan on the horizon (April 2020), we will also be looking to agree a set of ‘Guiding Principles’ to share with Govt that, hopefully, can help inform the decision-making and implementation processes around the new Action Plan. You can register your interest here – bookings open next week.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
West Lothian SEN member, The Larder, this week, launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise £20,000 towards a second training kitchen – allowing them to train 80 additional youngsters a year and employ to additional members of staff. To donate and support the Larder’s campaign, see full details.
Glasgow Social Enterprise Week is just a few weeks away, with places still available for the key events. These include the CEIS’ SE Policy and Practice Conference (4th Sept); the John Pearce Memorial Lecture at Glasgow Caley (3rd Sept); Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace (5th Sept) – and, of course, the launch of Glasgow’s SE Strategy Action Plan (6th Sept).
Another blog from Senscot Legal that will be of interest to many social enterprises and third sector orgs. The theme of this most recent blog is ‘Employing staff – what are your obligations’. See previous blogs.
Frontline News: Another SE event took place in Arran on Wed – with attendees agreeing to form the new Arran SEN; yesterday, in Inverness, Highland TSI hosted a SE Network Lunch – discussing issues around the next SE Action Plan; the possibility of a Highland SEN; and the work of the SE Academy in Highlands & Islands; 30th Aug – sees the launch of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire SE Strategies – as well as Clack’s SE Festival – running throughout September: and on Sept 13th, Social Firms Scotland and Senscot will be hosting a Community Learning Exchange to Falkirk Football Community Foundation – which will be of particular interest to Sport and Employability SEN members. See further details and booking form.
Following the SE event in Arran on Wednesday – and news of the formation of the new Arran SEN – this week’s bulletin profiles a local community enterprise – and one of the founding members. Kilmory Haven offers a range of distinct but interlinked elements – all run for the benefit of the community. Accommodation is available for families, individuals and groups (up 23 folk) within their purpose-built facility which opened in 2005; in 2013, they opened the 1934 club as a social hub for the local community and guests; and the Kilmory Public Hall that can accommodate functions/events for up to 150 folk. These interlinked elements – the Haven, the Club and the Hall – offer a unique package of facilities to groups visiting Arran for business or pleasure.