Senscot Bulletin: 21.08.15

Dear members and friends,


This December marks the centenary of the birth of Frank Sinatra (12.12.1915) – and I’ve been watching the USA documentary about his life called ‘All or Nothing at All’ – Fridays, BBC4. This is an ‘authorised’ account of his life (family approved) – so we can assume that certain less honourable events are omitted. The Rat Pack, the swagger, the arrogance, the dodgy cronies are of little relevance against his masterful interpretations of great songs – a legacy which will endure.


            In his slim but evocative tribute, ‘Why Sinatra Matters’ – Peter Hamill observes that, as an artist, Sinatra had only one basic subject – loneliness. If this was true – and I believe it was – we need to ask ourselves why he was one of the most popular singers of the 20th century – and what this tells us about ourselves. I can remember, some years ago, a friend telling me that he had never been rejected in love – and I remember my reaction: I felt sad for him – that his life was missing such a rich source of emotional depth. Sinatra understood that there is no passion without pain – and he sang the pain beautifully.


             During the 50s and 60s (the post Ava Gardiner heartache years) – recording with Capitol Records – Sinatra perfected his craft. From him I learned that yearning for lost love is part of the human condition; those vinyl albums gave me the language to tell my own story. Let the Sinatra legacy be that he was a true artist – who helped many millions of us to be wiser about love and loneliness.
Events in Scotland over recent years, have taught me respect for the intelligence of the electorate (even though they voted ‘no’). The 450,000 people who have registered to vote for the new Labour party leader are similarly intelligent; they can see that the Tories, with the complicity of the Blairites, are using austerity to destroy the UK’s post-war social democratic settlement. Jeremy Corbyn alone stands for a clean break with Tory policies – above all by advocating growth, to pay down the deficit. In spite of increasingly hysterical behavior from elements of the Labour establishment – people are waking up to the fact that Corbyn could win this contest. What would then happen to the Labour party is another matter… it could even rediscover why it was created – George Monbiot agrees.  
Since our launch in Jan. 1999 – Senscot has occupied the same office at 54 Manor Place, Edinburgh.  We work as much in the west as east – so in August 2010 we opened our office in 43 Bath Street, Glasgow. Earlier this year our landlord in Manor Place sold the building – and we got our marching orders; so next week we’re moving a few hundred yards to 21 Walker Street. For some of us ‘auld yins’ it feels like the end of an era – and ‘flitting’ is a real pain; but hopefully it will be ‘service as usual’ for years to come.
The next 9 months will determine whether – under Kezia Dugdale’s leadership – Labour can remain a political force in Scotland – a huge task. The new leader says she is going to assert core Labour values – but most of us will associate those with the new Corbyn surge – rather than the Blairite ‘same old’ which her new cabinet suggests. Friends, closer to Scottish Labour than myself – say that Dugdale has as much to fear from within her party as without. If this is so – Scottish Labour will continue to self-destruct – and deserve no better.
Martin Smith – the national organiser for the GMB union – says that people working for Amazon in Scotland face working conditions similar to a “19th century cotton mill”. His comments follow a scathing 5000 word expose of Amazon in the New York Times – based on interviews with 100 current and former staff – and describing its “abusive corporate culture”. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos (worth 50 billion dollars) said that the article didn’t describe the Amazon he knows. Both Scottish Amazon depots – Dunfermline and Gourock – attracted generous Govt. grants. 
Malcolm Combe lectures in law at Aberdeen yooni – he also advised the Land Reform Review Group. In this Herald piece he offers a balanced appraisal of the Land Reform Act currently with our parliament. Whilst it’s not devoid of content, he says, it could have been more radical – and he cites in particular two recommendations of the Review Group which have been ignored: an upper cap on the amount of land one person can own – and restricting ownership of land in Scotland to EU registered entities.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Firstport, Quarriers, Trellis, Bairdwatson Charitable Trust, Wild things!, Remade in Edinburgh, Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, Rocket Science
EVENTS: Hands Up for Enterprise, Aug 28; DTA Scotland Annual Conference & AGM, Aug 31; Social Enterprise Work and Wellbeing Conference and Exhibition, Sept 24;
TENDERS: Membership of a Procurement Framework for Supported Businesses – Perth & Kinross Council, Provision of Glass Collection Services – North Lanarkshire Council, Broomhill Landscape Architect – River Clyde Homes and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The 11th SE Conference and Ceilidh is now open for bookings – again at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld – draft programme available over the next couple of weeks. The focus, as always, will be on SENs and their members – and how they can maximise their opportunities and contributions in some of the following areas: Employability opportunities; the new round of EU Funding; the Community Empowerment Bill; working better with Intermediaries; and improved linkages between local and thematic SENs. The event will also include regular favourites such as the Dragons Den and ‘speed networking’.
Bradley Burston, a leading journalist with Haaretz – Israel’s oldest and most prestigious daily newspaper – has called Israel an Apartheid State. In his column this week he says that he used to take issue with the term Apartheid as applied to Israel; not anymore – not after the last few weeks. In his uncompromising piece he says it is now clear that there are two sets of books – one for us – and one to throw at Palestinians: Apartheid.
The last EU Masterclass – in the current series – took place this morning at the Melting Pot in Edinburgh. Over 50 folk (over 40 orgs). In total, around 170 individuals (representing nearly 150 organisations) have attended the events – and had a comprehensive update from Les Huckfield on how the new round of funding will work and the opportunities available to the third sector in Scotland. We will have more information as it becomes available – as well as regular updates from Les.
CEIS’ 9th Annual SE Policy and Practice Event takes place on Wednesday, 2nd Sept at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. This year’s programme will include the public presentation of the ‘SE State of the Sector Census’ plus a range of other topical issues. You can book here. Unfortunately all bursary place now gone.
Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) is leading the call for a redesigning of community planning in Scotland. They have produced a paper – along with Dr Oliver Escobar (What Works Scotland) – entitled, “Reimagining Community Planning in Scotland: A Vision for the Third Sector”. The paper argues that for the community planning process to be truly effective, local communities need to be at the heart of the decision-making process. Hard to argue with that.
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that is part of the charity Reachout with Arts in Mind – and provides employability training and personal development opportunities for people experiencing mental health issues and barriers to employment. The Makers Gallery & Bistro, based in Alloa, is part of Reachout’s five year employment support programme in Forth Valley.  The programme supports 40 individuals each year providing training and hands on experience in catering, hospitality, retail, administration, social media and event planning. The programme is person centred and delivered within a nurturing environment by professional staff. To date, 1in 3 participants have progressed onto sustained employment. All profits from The Makers Gallery & Bistro are gifted back to Reachout.
Although the spiritual classic Siddharta was published by Herman Hesse in 1922—it was only in the 1960s–with the explosion of interest in eastern philosophy – that it became an influential bestseller. Hesse emphasises ‘The Thousandfold Song of the River’ as an important influence on Siddharta.
“He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without
judgement, without an opinion … the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future.” – Hermann HesseSiddhartha
That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210