Dear members and friends,
To know what matters in life, and what does not, is a great wisdom; many of us don’t realise what’s important till long afterwards – when it can be too late. Reflecting on my life (that’s what old people do) is a mixed bag. I give myself a good grade for having kept clear of any ‘establishment’: no career, wealth, honours etc. (was this intentional?). Though not a revolutionary, I’m a natural dissident and champion of the underdog; too ‘swashbuckling’ to be a good community worker – more a social entrepreneur with good energy. Any official file on Demarco, would say ‘not to be trusted’ – which pleases me.
The memories that give most grief are the failed relationships in my life – good friends whom I let down – no longer see; that’s something I try to do better. Neuroscience says, that our earliest relationships (attachments) – which shape our brain and nervous system – are responsible for relationship outcomes; that seems a bit too easy.
The idea of ‘enoughness’ has had my attention recently; some people not having enough – others ‘thinking’ they don’t, always wanting more. I often recall Raymond Carver’s succinct poem ‘Late Fragment’: “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on this earth.” Whilst I can’t always summon Carver’s ‘gladness’ it can suddenly be with me; not as often as I’d like, of course, but ‘enough’. The idea of enoughness. Rather than winner/loser – I count myself a survivor.
You don’t have to be very clever to know that a general election is close – but it is less obvious whether our electorate will choose Boris – or major change with Jezza. Corbyn was out this week on the hustings – and this clip, referring to his speech, nails the bigger issue than Brexit – the crippling inequality of this Tory society. The Labour policies he outlines, massively favour the majority over the elite – so you’d think the many would out-vote the few; but for reasons I don’t understand, it’s not as simple as that. Corbyn compares the import of the coming election to the transformations of 1945 or 1972.
I’m a keen fan of Anand Giridharadas, who gave us Winners Take All – about the charade of the global elite’s efforts to change the world – so long as they stay on top; the rich and powerful, rebranding themselves as saviours of the poor. In the US, the Business Roundtable has just produced a bold statement, saying that shareholder value is no longer everything – that henceforth corporations will protect workers, customers, the environment etc. Giridharadas has let loose with scathing tweets – saying that voluntary pledges are worthless – that without action this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. See Washington Post article.
Among Scotland’s most precious assets, is the marine environment off our shores – genuinely the envy of the world. The massive proposed fish farm off Canna, reminds us again, that this ‘dirty’ industry endangers our environment and our international reputation. ‘Owners’, the National Trust, has lodged opposition.
Is a town’s High St in the realm of the free market economy – or is it the ‘commons’ of a particular community – ultimately responsible for its wellbeing. This is the issue raised by Labour’s proposal that Councils should acquire empty shops – determine their future. It’s a precursor of the post-capitalist relationships which will emerge as economies become mutualised – the semi-market.
The inherent tension between democracy and capitalism was identified in 1938 by the economic historian RH Tawney (1880-1962). Tawney wrote and taught from a socialist standpoint.
“Seen in historical perspective, the attempt to combine the equality of civil and political rights, which is of the essence of democracy, with the inequality of economic and social opportunities, which is of the essence of capitalism, is still in its first youth. There is sufficient experience, however, to suggest that the result represents, at best, a transitional arrangement… It may well be the case that democracy and capitalism, which at moments in their youth were allies, cannot live together once both have come of age.”
Last week, we announced that Senscot, along with Social Firms Scotland and Scottish Community Alliance, will be holding another Conference on 25th/26th November 2019 – again at the Westerwood Hotel. We are delighted to announce that one of our keynote speakers will be Neil McInroy – Chief Exec of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) – the UK’s leading, independent think and do tank – with a focus on social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone. Our theme, this year, will be around the notion of community wealth and wellbeing – and the opportunities and challenges for local social/community enterprises in responding to a number of Scottish Govt policy initiatives such as community empowerment, participatory budgeting, place-making, community wealth building, localism etc. The event will highlight areas of good practice, sharing of information and debating how organisations can better engage and participate with these agendas. To reserve your place – see booking form.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
An emerging theme at recent thematic SEN meetings has been the role of creative and cultural activity in improving health and wellbeing within local communities. This is the focus of the next Health SEN meeting (see link) which will explore challenges and opportunities for SEN members in this area. Key points from the discussion will feed in to the Joint Cultural and Health & Wellbeing Roundtable meeting in September; and will also inform Senscot’s input to the next Cross Party Group on Culture (8th Oct) on the theme Collaborate Culture: Meeting the challenges of person-centred healthcare.
Linked to the above story, Senscot is organising two Community Learning Exchanges (CLEs) over the next month to explore these links further. The first is to Project Ability in Glasgow; and the second is to Reachout With Arts in Mind in Clackmannanshire on Thursday 26th September. See links to register.
Here’s another example of the increasingly evident role that so many social enterprises have in contributing not solely to their specific field but also to the wider health and well-being in local communities. Scottish Parliament’s Health & Sport Committee is carrying out a short inquiry on the topic of ‘social prescribing of physical activity and sport’. They survey aims to look at social prescribing’s ability to tackle physical and mental wellbeing issues across Scotland. Deadline for submissions is 30th August. See full details.
Frontline News: Edinburgh SE has launched a Geotourism SE map of the city. This interactive app is designed to allow all members will be able to raise awareness of their enterprise and the social, community or environmental benefits they deliver. 9 members signed up so far; CEIS SE Policy and Practice Conference – limited bursaries places available for SEs with a turnover < £200k or <10 employees (£50 off standard rate). Contact email@example.com for discount code; Sign up for Community Enterprise’s (free) debate on the SE Map in Edinburgh on Mon, 26th Aug; Lastly, news of a new page in Angus.
This week’s bulletin profiles a new community enterprise providing all year-round sports facilities for the people of Moray. Moray Sports Centre (MSC), based in Elgin, moved into new premises earlier this summer – with its official launch next Friday (30th August). MSC’s goal is to provide a fitter future for the Moray community, improving and delivering sporting facilities and activities for all age groups – including education for a better quality of life and making participation in sport and physical activity an opportunity for all – and an enduring habit from the earliest years right through to later life.