Senscot Bulletin 23-05-2003

MAY 2003


Dear Members and friends,


All southern Spain is enjoying a heatwave this week –
Seville itself, though, is too hot. On Wednesday

morning we go early enough to capture favourite big window
table in upstairs tea room overlooking cathedral. From air-conditioned vantage
point we watch the crowds swell into spectacular boisterous fiesta – Hail
friends – make wee sorties in to surrounding streets/bars. Police try to keep
main streets open – but give up.  The
scale of this has not been anticipated. This seems new to the Sevillianos –
something fierce – primal.   Some look
aghast – even apprehensive. Sit on cathedral steps chatting to the ‘bears’. Temperature
in the nineties – most have their shirts off – the smell of burning flesh. The
main craic is "How did you get here?" – great stories.  There’s an air of mission – crusade – in the
crowd. For most the Cup would be great, but the core experience is expedition –
quest. The feeling of comradship is overwhelming. Kevin, who has the entire
Celtic ‘huddle’ tatooed across his shoulderblades, tells me he got out of
prison on Tuesday and went straight to Glasgow airport. He walked up and down
the check in queues for hours until someone had a spare flight ticket.  He looks as happy as anyone I have ever
seen.   Another young lad shouts ‘Hey
Wullie – am phoning my ma – what country are we in?’ ‘Spain ya daft
b******!’  ‘We’re in Spain ma. Apart
from the heat it’s just like Glasgow.’ 
And so it is. For 24 hours Glasgow has come to Seville.  

When we arrived last Saturday the
Seville Feria had just concluded – 14 successive evenings of

bullfighting.   This
year’s poster is a great design – ‘Toros en Sevilla’ plastered all over the
city. Wednesday saw the biggest travelling football support ever.  Perhaps it will inspire a new poster ‘Osos
en Sevilla’ – ‘Bears in Seville’. Seville won’t see their likes again.



In last Sunday’s Herald Iain MacWhirter remarked the
significance of the Labour party’s concession of PR in council elections from
2007. “Local government in Scotland will never be the same again”, he rightly
states.  Cynics are saying that the
councillors across the central belt have enough influence in the party to
reverse the decision within the next four years. If they complain loud enough
they may get some pension package but I think the main deal is done and that a
new surge of local democracy is on the way. If only it was next May and not



In Spain I’m out of touch, but from the Internet I learn
that the Social Justice department (where ‘social enterprise’ perches uneasily)
is no more. Instead we have something new called ‘Communities’ but it’s still
unclear what it will cover (except that it will address the very real problem
of unruly youth. We used to talk of ‘youth at risk’ but now we talk of the
community at risk from youth). Will ‘social enterprises’ stay with
‘Communities’ or will it go over to the enterprise department, which will now
have Jim Wallace at the helm? We hope it settles down soon. The civil servants
are beginning to move forward with the social economy agenda. More will be
clear next week.



Heavily critical articles about the SIP programmes in the
Scotsman last Friday and the following Monday. It seems that an appraisal by
the consultancy ‘Rocket Science’ of the Glasgow Alliance SIPs considered them
poor value for money. What everyone involved agrees is that the SIPs in general
have failed to engage with with the communities which they purport to serve.
For this reason alone they will not be missed. Even with goodwill and firm
intent, involving local people meaningfully is difficult to achieve. Most SIPs
are run by the local council, some of which have no intention of empowering
community leadership. This is the main flaw in the idea of ‘Community Learning



Article in latest Sunday Times on how housing associations
have led the way in exciting housing design, triggering a genuine shift in
private sector attitudes – ironically, just as Communities Scotland is lobbying
for a dramatic increase in high-volume building. “For a decade, Scotland
produced quality aspirational architecture in the social sector,” says one
architect, “It seems the sense of determination which kept that going is



NOTICES: See ‘Listings’ at
for more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant
notice you’d like posted, send it to


Grangemouth Enterprises Ltd has just become sole UK
distributor for “Breadbox Educational Software”.  The package helps improve literacy & numeracy skills,
keyboard skills and offers basic office functions i.e. word processing via a
range of interesting games.  Also have
refurbished PCs available for sale at varied prices.  Contact: 01324 474409,


Theatre NEMO Charity Fund Raising Event, ‘dancing’, ‘bands’,
‘Guest Artists’, The Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow, Sun 22 June 7-12p.m. Tickets £3
from Isabel McCue
or from the Grand Ole Opry, 0141 429 5396. (


Social Enterprise Development Initiative ‘Introduction To
Social Enterprise’ Training Course Date: Tuesday 24 June, 2-4.30pm  Hays Community Business Centre, Craigmillar,
Edinburgh. Contact Stephanie Wilson 0131 539 8056,
(booking form:


Scotland’s First Ever Nappy Conference 5th June 2003
10am-4pm, Council Chambers, Stirling. 3 billion disposable nappies thrown away
in UK each year, a major environmental problem. Using real nappies can save
money, reduce impact on environment and help create real jobs. Contact Sonia
McClay,, 01324


‘War – in whose name, in whose interests?’ Free public
seminar, Tues 10 June City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh.  Info stalls from 6.30pm.  Seminar 7 – 9pm. Speakers incl. Former
Bishop Richard Holloway, Alastair McIntosh, author, ‘Soil and Soul’, George
Kerevan (The Scotsman) just turn up and have your say (no booking); info


The Poverty Alliance seeks your ideas for a common paper on
new legislation, changes to existing laws, new ways of delivering services etc
to present to MSPs in July. (



This week’s bulletin profiles a charity and company limited
by guarantee that provides mobility equipment free of charge to mobility
impaired people wishing to shop or use the facilities within the Paisley Town
Centre. Shopmobility Paisley and District, located within the Paisley Centre
Multi Storey Car Park, has been in existence since 1992. During that time, it
has developed a service within the Paisley area that offers assistance to
people experiencing a mobility or sensory impairment access shops and other
facilities through the use of equipment and or the assistance of volunteer
escorts. The project is currently seeking to generate additional income through
its Hire Services and its Business Surveys that will be an expansion of its
current provision. Further information: see
(Project Profiles).



On Friday 30 May, The Lighthouse in Glasgow has organised a
seminar to develop the issues raised by their current exhibition ‘Common Place’
(runs until June 11). Chaired by Muriel Gray, the seminar will look further
into the ideas and issues raised, namely, what are common places and what do
they meant to us? Common-place is the area beyond your house, the public
places, both intimate and expansive, that we occupy with other people. Further
info, contact
or telephone 0141-225-8410



Folk frequently remark that in the bulletin my view of life
is overly gloomy – this surprises me as its quite

unconscious.  I was
therefore heartened to read this fragment from a letter written by Anton
Chekhov.  “You complain that my stories
are gloomy.  Alas, it is not my
fault.  It turns out that way
involuntarily, and while I am writing it does not seem to me that I am writing
gloomily.” I am also reminded of a conversation in the film Lust for Life.  Remember it?  It was about the life of Vincent Van Gogh.  Vincent (Kirk Douglas) is telling Gaugin
(Anthony Quinn) that his colours are insipid – not vibrant enough.  Gaugin replies with some heat – “That´s the
way I see it Vincent”.  That’s good
enough for me.   We need all kinds of
individual voices – even gloomy ones! 


That’s all for this week.

Best wishes,




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