Senscot Bulletin: 21.04.17

Dear members and friends,

Good Friday; this morning, Jet 2 alone has six full flights out of Edinburgh – security hall is bedlam. Our Malaga flight carries a dozen ‘gals’ – black tee shirts with gold lettering: “Mona’s Hen Do – Marbella 17”; party time. When I was that age, in the 1960s, Europe was still remote; I know we’re burnin’ the planet – but it’s great what the EU and cheapo flights have brought within reach of ordinary punters.
            Once again, I`m dazzled by the heat and light of April sunshine in Andalucia – life enhancing. It’s not surprising that 300,000 UK citizens now officially reside in Spain – over a third of them claiming the UK pension. It’s for the ‘oldies’ I feel most sympathy midst the Brexit turbulence – their looming healthcare uncertainty. At present, 75,000 seniors registered with Spanish doctors are paid for by the UK; but if we leave the European Economic Area – this reciprocal arrangement will cease; skint oldies heading home? I really hope we don’t abandon freedom of movement with continental Europe; like turning the clock back.
            Wednesday afternoon sunshine – ten of us in Pepe’s beach restaurant (chiringuito); joyful children scamper to and from the sea. This is a mixture of family and friends – all living here; I listen to their ‘snap election’ reactions – Brexit options. Colin, next to me, has been here eight years – he’s a graphic artist – smart; when I ask what brought him to Spain, he, wordless, points to the sky; we both look to the high, blue, shimmering heavens; ‘nuff said.


We’ll all take a few days to clarify our thoughts on the sudden general election announcement; the Tory high command’s move to tighten its control of the Brexit process. The anticipated Tory dominance of the Commons is only bad news – so why do I feel some excitement? I think it’s the core democratic reality – the mass of the people with an opportunity to pass judgement on this historic constitutional upheaval. Have the English baulked at the realities of leaving Europe – or does quelling immigration still dominate?
            May is not easy to warm to – imperious; Corbyn, lacking media and leadership skills, is the most honest politician any of us has seen. In these volatile political times – no electorate should be taken for granted. The cards are about to be dealt again – that’s always exciting. The FT political columnist Janan Ganesh is aye a few moves ahead of me.


The overarching argument for or against independence is not, for me, an economic one – there are more important considerations – but a realistic understanding of Scotland’s economy is very important. Economics is not a ‘serious’ science – numbers are routinely juggled to make political argument; we all know that 80% of the UK’s media are unionist (I include the BBC) – so the Scottish economy is usually presented as a ‘basket case’ – dependent on the generosity of England. I take a more common sense view; looking at correspondingly-sized nations (particularly the Nordics) I see no reason why Scotland could not be a prosperous, European, social democracy. George Kerevan (East Lothian MP) has been a senior lecturer in economics and understands about numbers. Here’s his piece from The National.


When a major public sector spending institution like a hospital or university – happens to be situated in a generally deprived area – a real opportunity exists to link the ailing local economy to this high spending neighbour. When this is specifically applied to the development of bespoke workers’ co-operatives – to serve the procurement needs of the ‘anchor institution’ – it is becoming referred to as the ‘Cleveland Model’. Inspired by Mondragon, Ted Howard brought the idea to Cleveland, Ohio and has now introduced it to Preston Town Council in England. Guardian piece by Hazel Sheffield.


This piece is lifted from the current Scottish Community Alliance Briefings: Bhutan is the world’s youngest democracy, emerging from absolute monarchy less than a decade ago. Last month, a delegation arrived in Edinburgh on a fact-finding tour, intrigued, in particular, by Scotland’s Youth and Children’s Parliaments.  Bhutan’s transition into a fully-fledged democracy was entirely peaceful – as expected of a country that has eschewed conventional measurements of economic progress in favour of one that values its people’s happiness.  But there’s nothing frivolous about GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). Bhutan’s leaders have observed how the headlong pursuit of economic growth has impacted on the rest of the world and have chosen a very different path for their country; that national prosperity is only possible when the natural environment is treated with reverence. Bhutan’s intuitive grasp of 21st century economics is set out in a new book by Kate Raworth – Doughnut Economics. Here’s George Monbiot’s review.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Govan Community Project, Impact Arts (Projects) Ltd, Social Enterprise Academy, Age Scotland Enterprises, BOLD, Stramash Social Enterprise, The Caravan Project, Crossroads Caring Scotland
EVENTS: Northern Streams 2017, 23 Apr; Digital Marketing for Small Businesses, 25 Apr; Fine Dining – by Alex, 6 May; Carluke on the Run 2017, 21 May; Social Enterprise: Start-up Awareness, 24 May;
TENDERS: Cool2talk Support Worker – Argyll and Bute Council; Corporate Taxi Service – East Ayrshire Council; Professional Services for CHArts Place Partnership Project – Argyll and Bute Council and more.  Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: Last week’s launch of the SE Action Plan includes a series of actions and activities that Scottish Govt will look to support over the next three years. Amongst these are some ‘early actions’ – two of which Senscot will be directly involved in. The Partnership and Procurement Hub will look to build on our existing work in supporting SEs and third sector organisations looking to form partnerships and consortia. We are pleased to announce that we have now appointed Yvonne McBride as our new P&P Hub Manager. Yvonne will be taking up post in mid-May. We will also be carrying out a Feasibility Study on a Consortia Model for SENs that, we believe, can contribute to their future development and sustainability. An initial meeting with SEN Reps takes place today in Perth. Update next week.


The SE Census 2017 is now underway. It’ll only take 15 mins to fill in. We’ll have more on this next week.


Following the introduction of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham followed this up with the establishment of a new Scottish Land Commission in November 2016 – with a number of the new ‘commissioners’ committed land reformers. As a next step, the Commission is holding a series of monthly ‘meet and greet’ events across the country – in both rural and urban locations. The intention is to give people the opportunity to find out more about the work of the organisation, meet with Commissioners and to discuss local communities’ priorities for land reform.


DTA Scotland was formed in 2004 and, every three years, tries to carry out a survey of its membership – both to offer an insight into the people involved with the development trust movement as well as the growing economic impact they make on local communities. This latest version has some impressive figures: 220 members; over 40,000 individual members; over £50m in income – with £21m generated through trading.


With our local Council elections just round the corner, the established Parties are now launching their respective manifestos – out so far are Greens; Labour; Lib Dems; and Tories – with SNP’s out today. However, another manifesto that will be of interest to many readers is the SE Local Election Manifesto – produced, as ever, by Duncan Thorp (SES). One of the thrusts of the SE manifesto is for local SE Strategies in each local authority area in Scotland – something also aspired to in Scottish Govt’s SE Action Plan.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new venture that adds to Scotland’s growing band of online journalism platforms – but with a difference. Cosmipolita Scotland is a bilingual, independent and digital newspaper written in Spanish and English, produced by volunteers from Scotland. Its focus is current affairs from Scotland and the Spanish-speaking world as well as an interest in reporting the challenges faced by other cultural communities living in Scotland. In doing so, Cosmipolita Scotland seeks to improve theintegration and the relationship of the Spanish speaking community and the Scottish society. They are one of a number of creative enterprises based at Edinburgh Palette.


Emma Morano – recognised as the oldest person in the world – died last week at the age of 117. Emma was born in the village of Civiasco in the Piedmont region of northern Italy in 1899. Last year, she explained her longevity:


“I eat three raw eggs a day. I like biscuits – but now I don’t have any teeth. I drink wine in moderation and don’t smoke. I have stayed single – since I kicked out my husband in 1938 – don’t go out much and make sure I go to bed early.”


A few tips there for all of us!!



That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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