Senscot Bulletin: 23.08.13

Dear members and friends,

 Sometimes I feel sympathy for obese people – forced to carry everywhere the ignominy of their excesses; an over fondness for food is not the worst of human sins – but it’s the most exposed; we don’t see the drunkard’s swollen diseased liver – nor the smokers black, tarred lungs.  Supposing, for example, ‘big headed’ people got big heads; that, depending on the extent of our vanity – our heads become two, three times the normal.  And suppose mean people actually became ‘tight fisted’; that lack of generosity caused our hands to clench into a fist so that folk could see at a glance – tight bassa.  And what if sex addicts… no – won’t go there – but you get my general drift.
 The problem with my theory is that obesity is on the increase; ‘full exposure’ doesn’t work; addiction is more complex than willpower.  For the best part of 30 years I drank alcohol everyday – excessively; then one day I stopped.  A person who believes that it is necessary to be 20 stones – can come to understand that they’d rather be 14 stones.  In my case there was no flash of light – or dogged resolution; my perspective just changed.  I presume that my decision to be a non-drinker took many years – but its realisation was unremarkable.  On 3rd September 2001 I believed it was necessary for me to drink – the next day I realised it wasn’t; nothing to do with willpower – the time may come when we see things differently, and can change – or not. 

We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see

A new book – The Blunders of our Governments – identifies ‘cultural distance’ as a major reason for failed policy.  Cock-ups like the Poll Tax, ID Cards etc. often arise, it says, because of the remoteness of legislators from ordinary life.  The English govt’s current policy for investment in the third sector qualifies as a blunder – which could only have arisen from an astonishing ignorance of our world.  It becomes increasingly clear that less than 10% of our sector is willing or able to transfer to loan finance.  The core proposition – that the third sector should transform itself into a divided yielding asset class for private investment – is deeply insulting.  When this blunder is abandoned – we need to ask why so many of our leaders collaborated.  See,

Readers who like to keep informed about the tortuous evolution of social impact bonds (SIBs) will be interested in a new English concoction called LIST (Local Integrated Service Trust).  It’s very complex – the legal bill for this stuff must be eye watering – but the Lottery is paying.  All part of the UK Govt’s determination to privatize service delivery.  See,

Ed Miliband is clearly a man of integrity – but I’ve lost faith in his leadership – Maurice Glasman has added his voice to the call for Ed to get his finger out.  Glasman has a vision for Labour – that they repent the sins of Blair and Brown – return to core values; preserve the essential state safety net – underpinning a new renewal built upon family, place and work.  I like some of it.  See,

Increasingly I find myself aligned with political commentator Ian McWhirter’s analysis of the developing relationship between Scotland and England.  “Scotland will likely evolve into a relatively high-tax, high-spend, oil rich Nordic state within the EU, emulating Denmark or Finland.  England may seek its own form of independence, probably leaving the EU to become a finance-led market economy with low taxation and diminished social protections.  Eventually both sides will realise that these increasingly divergent political cultures should accept their differences and seek a new and looser constitutional arrangement.”  He wrote a good Guardian piece this week.  See,

People like myself – for whom £70 is not a scary amount of money – should take note of the CAB report this week which says that a quarter of parents are unable to pay for their child’s uniform.  See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students’ Association, The Scottish Out of School Care Network, Keymoves – Support for Homeless Women in Edinburgh, Glasgow YWCA, miEnterprise Scotland, Penicuik YMCA
EVENTS: Wiff Waff Wednesday, 28 Aug; Social Enterprise Challenge Aberdeen, 19 Aug; Sleepless ’til Seattle – illustrated adventure talk, 30 Aug; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 31 Aug;
TENDERS:  Hadden Construction Limited – Speculative Sub-Contract Opportunity, NHS Education for Scotland – Development of Existing Web Based Evaluation & Reporting Database and Partick Housing Association Limited – Partick Community Growing Project – Works. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Bookings are already coming in for this year’s SE Conference and Ceilidh at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld on 14th/15th Nov. We’ve also heard this week that Derek Mackay, Minister of Local Government and Planning, has accepted our invitation to our keynote speaker for day 1(14th Nov). The Minister will address the Conference on the impending Govt legislation (Procurement Reform and Community Empowerment Bills) and the role/contribution that can be made by our SE community. We hope to have news on our keynote speaker for day 2 shortly. Here’s the draft programme, . Booking form is now available – initially limited to 2 places per organisations – see,  For more Networks News, see 

Senscot is looking to recruit an Administrator (Maternity cover) for our office in Edinburgh (Manor Place). We`re hoping to have someone in place by end of October prior to Karina heading off on her maternity leave in mid/late November. The post will be available until September 2014. As well as general admin duties, the role also involves book- keeping, co-ordinating events and making sure this bulletin is ready to go out on Friday mornings. For job description and application form, contact

DTA Scotland is holding its Annual Conference and 10th anniversary celebrations on 1st/2nd Sept at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld. Places are still available – but travel bursaries are running out fast. If you’d like to join them to celebrate a successful 10 years, see

They drill holes, and force water into the ground at such a pressure that it fractures the shale rock and releases gas.  No – it all seems too hap-hazard for me.  I’ll vote for investment in renewables.  I read Lucy Mangan’s column on Saturdays.  Serious subjects with humour.  See,

Good upbeat article by Mark Sesnan – CEO of Greenwich Leisure one of the most successful SEs in the UK; his piece is an inspiring story of SE up scaling to a national and international level – shows we can be serious players.  But for me the main prize is inventing mechanisms to enable the procurement of small community owned service providers.  Small is beautiful.  See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a Glasgow social enterprise whose aims are to reduce landfill, promote recycling and re-use and to help disadvantaged communities. The Reclaimer is the trading arm of the environmental charity, ReAction. Having started in the 1990s in Glasgow’s west end, The Reclaimer now provides recycling collection services to business and residential customers across Greater Glasgow. The Reclaimer works closely with a number of community organisations across the city in offering solutions to diverting as much unwanted waste or reusable items as possible from a landfill grave. See more,

Elmore Leonard died on Tuesday – he was 87.  I enjoyed the Telegraph obituary – see, I’m a keen fan of crime fiction in general – but Leonard was one of the greats, whose writing (particularly dialogue) transcends the genre.  His stories depict hopelessly flawed, low life characters – but he brings to their tawdry lives compassion, humour and tenderness.  Right up to his death, Leonard wrote for 8 hours each day – 10am – 6pm; said it was all he knew how to do – that it was fun.  Great 5 minute clip of him talking about his craft. See,

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