Senscot Bulletin: 26.07.13

Dear members and friends,

Our local supermarket sells books – 2 for £7; picked up two ‘thrillers’ by Lee Child about a character, Jack Reacher – new to me. Reacher is 6ft 5” – 17 stones of muscle – former military policeman – trained in armed and unarmed combat; sort of Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis rolled into one. He is also very clever – and one senses ultimately a moral man; but he is a vigilante – and the way he summarily dispatches the bad guys – borders on violence porn – puts me off.
 What attracts about Reacher is that he is the loneliest of loners; wanders the USA, hitchhiking or on buses; sleeping wherever – no fixed abode – no enduring relationships – no luggage. Like Don Quixote, he is the romantic knight errant – allowing fate or whimsy to decide his next adventure. The archetypal hero has a thousand faces – Reacher takes the solitary, untamed avenger as far as it can go.
 Lee Child has created a successful product – an unashamedly commercial brand which has sold 50 million books. We shouldn’t get too ‘sniffy’ about this – nor take it too seriously. He has a powerful gift for narrative – most of his values are sound – good honest thrillers. I ‘googled’ Lee Child for background – surprisingly, he is an Englishman, called Jim Grant, raised in Birmingham – an Aston Villa supporter – who now lives in New York; It`s interesting that my old pal, Raymond Chandler, was also raised in England. Jack Reacher ain’t no Philip Marlowe – but I`d buy another two for £7.

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

The Institute of Social Banking (ISB) is supported by 15 social banks from 11 European countries – this is the membership, see . The ISB hosts a week-long annual summer school – which brings together leading practitioners of alternative finance from around the world. This year, the school was held in Lihn, Switzerland (14th- 19th July) – and asked the question, “What is the role of social banks in supporting a healthy commons?” – I think I would have enjoyed that. Participants came up with an early draft of ‘A Living Manifesto for Social Banking and the Commons’. To visit and help shape the draft, visit,

The Jimmy Reid Foundation’s Common Weal discussion paper – sketches a Scotland with a ‘Nordic’ style economy; high taxes, high levels of services – less corrosive inequality. The Sunday Herald has been giving the Common Weal some attention – I sense it’s where Scotland wants to go – but there are no ‘conviction’ politicians with the leadership to take us there. This is a short paper by two leading academics in the USA New Economics movement. It references the Common Weal and Scotland’s economic future. See,

News that Jack McConnell is to chair an energy company’s ‘wind farm sweetner’ fund suggests that he has too much spare time. Taken over 25 years, a ‘potential’ £90m is not a significant sum; more importantly – local communities should be co-producers of wind energy – not get discretionary hand-outs. In Community Energy Scotland (CES), we have a home grown SE with a unique understanding and commitment to community-owned energy generation. Last month, CES lost its anchor contract – delivering the Govt’s CARES Programme – to a London-based company. From a community empowerment perspective, this was a bewildering decision by Scottish civil servants. See,

“The scale of low pay in Britain is a national scandal. Come pay day, nearly 5 million people in this country won’t have been paid at a rate high enough to live on”. These are the words of John Sentamu (Archbishop of York), who is to chair the year-long Living Wage Commission, set up by the democratic-left think-tank, Compass. The Commission will explore and report on what can be done about poverty wages. The living wage is calculated at an hourly rate of £8.55 in London and £7.45 elsewhere. See,

I’m reading Susan Cain’s excellent book – ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’. Her central thesis is that western culture favours an ‘extrovert ideal’ – that we have shaped our institutions around those who are natural social communicators – that quiet sensitive people are devalued. As I age, I become more introverted – find more solace in solitude than social gatherings. This book is a manifesto for introverts. Will let you feel less guilty about wanting to be left alone.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Forth Sector, Turning Point Scotland, miEnterprise Lothian CIC, Whitmuir Community Farm, Social Investment Scotland, Glasgow YWCA, Starpic LTD, Pilton Community Health Project
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 27 Jul; Sleepless ’til Seattle – illustrated adventure talk, 30 Aug; Social Capital World Forum 13, 4 Sep;
TENDERS: ITT Mediation Services – East Lothian Council, Provision of materials recovery facility for co-mingled dry recyclables – Aberdeen City Council and Removal, Disposal and Replacement of Floor Coverings – Scottish Prison Service. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The Voluntary SE Code of Practice has 5 criteria – which set down the values and behaviours by which the SE community in Scotland recognises one another. These criteria were updated recently, see . Many SENs have now adopted the Code’s criteria as the basis for membership of their respective SENs. Over the coming months, we will be promoting the Code more widely in the  hope of getting as many SEN members as possible to sign up as ‘subscribers’. If you’d like to show your support, you can subscribe here,
For more Networks News, see

Space at Manor Place: Over the coming weeks, two rooms will be coming available for renting at Manor Place. Room 13 (top floor) would suit 2/3 people – circa £4k per annum; and Room 10 (2nd floor) could accommodate 4/5 folk – circa £6k p.a. If you’re interested, contact

DTA Scotland celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and will be marking the occasion at their annual conference with a dinner/dance and Ceilidh. The Conference is on 1st/2nd September at Westerwood Hotel – with this year’s theme being ‘Doing regeneration in hard times’. They’re looking forward to welcoming as many of their members as possible. See details,

Closing date for the annual SURF Awards is only a couple of weeks away – 19th August. These annual awards – for best practice in community regeneration – have five distinct categories, including a special award to highlight the success of community-led regeneration. If you are interested in applying, see

Glasgow Caley, in partnership with the SE Academy, will be running another postgraduate course in social enterprise – starts in September. The programme is designed around the needs and realities of practitioners and those supporting the field – and you can achieve a Certificate (1yr), Diploma (2yrs) or Masters (3yrs) in Social Enterprise. Bursaries – £500 per year – are available. See details,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that aims to promote, support and become ambassadors to people, companies and organisations who are driving social change within the cycling industry. Unchained Mag is an online cycling magazine producing family-friendly and community-based content. The profits generated are directed into helping other organisations promote good causes and help communities promote and support their cycling initiatives. For more, see

Are you watching Top of the Lake (Saturdays BBC2)… wondrously strange?  It’s written by Jane Campion (59) whom I sense is herself a very interesting person.  Some of her recent observations:

 “Nobody is every really speaking the truth.  It’s always relative…  Losing my son (at 12 days old) was a blessing that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  I didn’t know if I was going to survive it.  But I didn’t know that I had that much love in me.  I thought I was a sarcastic bit*h.  I didn’t know something could get me in the guts to that extent.  It brought me to my knees…  Personality gets in the way.  It’s a reaction to the world, a way of managing.  When you’re young you think you have to develop your personality; as you age you can’t wait to get rid of it…  Prince Charles’s tapes with Camilla still make me laugh.  Scandal reminds us we’re all the same…  I don’t know what I’m like.  It’s the only thing we can never know”.

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