Dear members and friends,
I’m not a very curious person about small talk, gossip, etc – but I get unusual satisfaction from one to one conversations about beliefs, values, meaning; soul talk. Waterstones this week – Edinburgh’s George St – bump into Norma – we like each other – decide to have afternoon tea. Norma was a senior civil servant now retired; she proudly considers herself a bureaucrat; for her there are no grand causes – only her family; people who espouse passionate beliefs are potential trouble; the civil service used her as a fixer – a good one. For over an hour we interrogate each other. I probe the cowardice of her impartiality – she, the vanity of my posturing. She must have got the better of our exchange – I arrive home feeling unsure – needing to write down my position.
During the course of my life, I moved from a position of God’s will and moral certainty – to one where we have to find our own way. This requires that we adopt a structure of meaning – a framework that we call ‘real’. We are always aware that it is a construct – one truth among many – but we need to afford it enough meaning to live it passionately. If you’re fortunate enough to find a cause – give yourself to it unreservedly; don’t be too worried about having a ‘balanced’ life; anything worth fighting for will unbalance your life. Several historical figures, whom I admire, concluded that loving your work is the best, most concrete approximation of happiness on earth. I think this is what I believe.
We usually run our annual appeal until the end of Feb – two more weeks. Numbers this year seem to have ‘stalled’ around 75; so if you have ‘nearly’ signed up – please help us make the annual target of 100.
To join or to donate, see http://www.senscot.net/members.php . An invoice can be supplied on request. See this year’s list – so far, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers14.php
Everyone I met this week wanted to chat about currency union – London’s choreographed political power play to get us to vote ‘No’. I enjoyed Kevin McKenna’s reaction – he must have had fun drawing comparisons with 1914 – when London sent tanks into Glasgow’s George Square to quell the threat of a Bolshevik uprising! See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16679 . I’m not one who ever thought this process would be painless – but I didn’t think the gloves would come off quite so early. Still – we know what to expect now – zero. The tiny Westminster political elite which runs the UK is remote from the Scottish people; they have taken a gamble with threat tactics; some people don’t respond well to external pressure. Surprisingly good article in Forbes magazine called: ‘As Scotland mulls Independence – stupid London plays it dirty’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16678
Continental Europe and Scandinavia have a tier of democracy with real devolved powers – much closer to communities; because Scotland is missing this tier – there is widespread disengagement with local politics. The Scottish Greens have launched a ‘Local Democracy Report’ – and momentum is building to make this issue the subject of serious Govt intent. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16680. There is also a compelling case for systematically linking the cost of this missing democratic tier directly to local energy generation; this would be like the recent deal announced in West Lothian – but within a national framework – affording communities statutory rights. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16686
The Changin’ Scotland series of seminars – up in Ullapool – has a particularly appetizing menu for the weekend 28th-30th March. Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart of course – but David Donnison will also be there – and there is a juicy session called ‘Common Weal and the new Radicals’, Good scoff.
As long as it was located in a nice place – I wouldn’t mind living in a pod; factory prefabricated and insulated to a high spec – and delivered in a ‘oner’ to a serviced pad. Two dozen could be arranged around a ‘common room’ with shared services. Ian Begg has written to Scottish Review with a similar idea.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Rocket Science, Scottish Professional Football League Trust, West Wemyss Community Trust, INSP, Food Train, Edinburgh Markets, Factory Skatepark, MHF, Inverclyde Women’s Aid
EVENTS: SME & Social Enterprise Sales Workshop, 25 Feb; SIIA Information Evening, 3 Mar;
TENDERS: North Ayrshire Council – Third Sector Procurement Register, Treatment of Recyclable & Residual Waste – Scotland Excel, Grounds Maintenance & Winter Emergency Services at SNH Head Office, Grounds Maintenance Contract 2014 – Eildon Housing Association and Supply & Delivery of Vinyl Floor Coverings – Stirling Council. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1025
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced at this week’s Gathering event continued commitment from Scottish Government for Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) – managed by SCVO. The additional £4m for the programme will see a further 1,200 job opportunities for young people across Scotland. As well as the positive outcomes for young people, many SEN members have benefited from the CJS programme as well as being able to provide a range of employment opportunities for young people. STOP PRESS: Following the First Minister’s announcement on Wednesday, Angela Constance (Minister for Youth Employment) also announced up to 255 additional CJS jobs which need to be filled by 31st March, 2014. See more on this, www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=1361. For more SENs News, see www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=334.
Four weeks to go until the 3rd Sports SEN conference – “SE & Sport – Inspiring our Leaders” – with
over 90 folk now registered. The event is geared at being a great opportunity for inspiration, learning and networking for both established and aspiring sports related social enterprises and others – all looking to make a difference through sport. To book your place, see www.senscot.net/sportconf14.php
I used to enjoy Theo Paphitis on Dragons’ Den – courteous and sensible; but when I came to read his views of social enterprise, I expected the familiar private sector blurred boundaries and ‘blended value’ – not so. The brief linked paragraph expresses with absolute clarity that private companies and SEs exist for different purposes. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16683
I keep myself well away from the Benefits Street TV programmes and debates – poisonous, divisive, exploitative – poverty pornography is an apt term. Good piece by Owen Jones of the Independent (who is impressive) which carries the hopeful message – that by engaging, this debate can be won. We can divert the lazy mockery of the very poorest in society to where it should be – to those at the top of the heap – who rip off an estimated £25 billion in tax avoidance. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16682
News this week of a new creative social enterprise incubator space opening in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh. This is a joint venture between Whale Arts and Community Enterprise. With support from Creative Scotland, they will offer a mix of in-house mentoring as well as structured business support. They aim to support 9 new creative businesses over two years so spaces are limited. If you`re interested and see yourself as a budding creative social entrepreneur, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16684
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise with a unique approach to addressing the promotion of self-care and self-worth for girls and women in Glasgow. MsMissMrs – a community interest company and Firstport awardee – has two main areas of activity; Empowerment Pants and Self-empowerment Workshops. MsMissMrs has already produced thousands of pairs of empowerment pants’ – with profits from the sale of these pants providing employment opportunities, workshops and peer-led mentoring for women in Glasgow. For more see, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=16667
Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer. His work is prolific, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss."
“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210