For months, I’ve been aware of some ‘obstruction’ at the back of my throat – so a visit on Wednesday to the ENT clinic to have it checked. The way I navigate through life is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst – can’t prevent part of my mind gearing up for throat cancer. I sense that my fear of death has diminished – and that I don’t fancy the prospect of prolonged treatment – but not sure how ‘authentic’ these impressions are.
At the hospital I’m seen by a surprisingly young doctor (which I prefer); he asks good questions – listens well; then he inserts a wire with a camera/light through my nose – which projects screen images of my throat – minimal discomfort. The doctor says it’s absolutely clear – explains to me the special sensitivity of the throat – its emotional connectivity to our brain – he is charming – real humanity. On my way back to the car, it starts to rain – so I detour into a warm, bright café – sit next to a four-year old with a colouring book – exchanging smiles. Then I’m smiling at everyone, relieved about this ‘all clear’ – feeling ‘the power of now’.
Last Friday was my 79th birthday – pleased to still get a few cards – one of them had this message: “As we get older, even though we acquire deep and noble wisdom, we still keep asking the important questions: What is the meaning of life? Does our universe really exist? Why did I come into this room again?”
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), one of the country’s leading research institutes, has published stark indicators of inequality in the UK; these show that we are on the same path as the US (the most unequal) with a concentration of wealth at the top, at the expense of working families – a gap prolonged enough to suggest that ‘democratic capitalism is broken’. The IFS is launching a ‘landmark analysis of inequality’, chaired by Nobel prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton: “We have to make sure the UK is inoculated from some of the inequality horrors that have happened in the US”. Here’s one Scottish perspective.
Separate from the state and private business, there’s a non-market (third) sector of the economy, which we call the social economy: many thousands of collectively owned, non-profit organisations, with a core social mission. This report from Middlesex University, examines the potential and actual impact of the UK social economy, compared to European countries where it’s better developed. I’m a fan of Pope Francis, who this week invited young economists and entrepreneurs to gather with him next March in Assisi, where they will consider how “to change today’s economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”
Journalist/activist Paul Mason’s 2015 book, Postcapitalism argued that advances in artificial intelligence are revolutionary – with the potential to make us digital serfs – consumers manipulated by algorithms. Alternatively, they may have the potential to end an economy based on markets and private ownership – free us from the pain of work. His new book, essentially on the same theme, acknowledges that neoliberalism has eroded the notion of ‘humanity’ as never before – but it is radically optimistic, passionately spelling out how humans can take control of the present – shape a ‘Clear Bright Future’. Footnote: Mason’s editor should have realised that referencing 100 different philosophers is too many – too scattergun.
The final chapter of Mason’s book is called ‘Live the antifascist life’, which brings us easily to the sinister, grinning mask of Nigel Farage. (John Crace describes a rally). Farage gets disproportionate media attention, and when he popped up on Andrew Marr I nearly switched off – but Marr gave him a good kicking.
This definition is from www dictionary.com.
“Fascism is a governmental system, led by a dictator, having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”
This is Franklyn D. Roosevelt’s take on the ‘essence’ of Fascism.
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
Following the success of the Pockets and Prospects 2018 programme, a new programme is now getting underway. This year’s programme sees over 30 SEs in Glasgow participating – contributing over 60 services to the ‘Menu of Activities’ on offer for the benefit of community anchor organisations and members of their local communities. The services and activities available include: I.T. classes; baby massage sessions; adventure days out; discos; mindfulness courses; and embroidery workshops. See further details on this year’s ‘Menu of Activities’ as well as some FAQs. The Programme is being managed by Senscot and Glasgow SEN – supported by the Scottish Community Alliance. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
The 4th SE Ref Sub-Group takes place on Thursday 6th June at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow. Our Agenda will reflect on discussions at this week’s Govt SE Ref Group – as well as beginning to explore the priorities for the next Action Plan – what has worked; what gaps exist; and how can we ensure that support and resources are channelled more effectively towards frontline organisations, If you are from a social enterprise or a membership-led organisation and would like to attend, see Booking details.
Senscot is holding its AGM next week at EVH Offices in Glasgow. This will be our 19th AGM – see Agenda etc. As well as normal proceedings, an ordinary resolution will be tabled – seeking the members’ approval to ‘explore the most appropriate model or structure in which to embed Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and their members at the heart of Senscot’s governance structure – representing their interests at a national level’. If you are interested in attending – and joining our discussion, see registration form.
Here’s the latest in an impressive series of short videos from Community Land Scotland – this one covering community ownership and the work of Community Land Scotland itself.
One of the regular events in our SE calendar is the CEIS September Conference – now in its 11th year. The Conference’s regular focus is on policy and practice within the SE community both in Scotland and beyond – with this year’s keynote speaker, Béatrice Alain (Chantier de l’économie sociale) describing Quebec’s approach to developing an ecosystem for its own local social economy. See link above for details.
Reminder: The SE Census 2019 is now underway and Social Value Lab is asking folk to fill in their SE Census 2019 Survey. It’ll take 10/15 mins to fill in – but we’d ask that you spare a bit of time to do so. In order to build a consistent picture and observe the various trends across our sector – the more folk who fill it in the better. See this blog on the Census from Rick Rijsdijk (Social Value Lab).
This week’s bulletin profiles a venture, just outside Forfar, that operates a Visitor Farm, Tearoom, Nature Reserve and Educational Centre. The Murton Trust has emerged as a popular visitor attraction in the Angus area as well as acting as an important educational centre – providing a unique environment in which children, young people and adults can learn and develop skills for life. In addition to offering the opportunity to learn more about nature and the environment, Murton Trust’s education programme also offers the opportunity to learn a range of diverse skills such as estate maintenance, animal husbandry, soft landscaping – together with personal development and employability skills. The Murton Trust is also one of the founding members of the new Angus SEN.