Senscot Bulletin: 26.08.16

Dear members and friends,
In this turbulent age of information technology etc – I’m comforted by the mood of the book of Ecclesiastes; an old guy – at the end of a full life – reflecting on the sense of continuity; how generations come and go – but ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’. I enjoy the endorsement of ancient wisdom in the news, that modern neurological theory confirms one of Buddhism’s oldest insights – that our personal sense of an unchanging self is an illusion. It seems that the brain offers a sequential narrative, which gives the impression of a coherent self; but neuroscience sees only a babble of competing soliloquies from different neural channels; a brain and body in constant flux. This accords with the Buddhist perception of ‘anatta’ – or no self.
           My ‘imagined’ ego took a knock at a public event recently; during the lunch break I’m collared by a man with a grievance – saying that 25 years ago I got him sacked from his community job. I don’t remember the incident, but the period he refers to was a manic, ‘action man’ episode in my working life – when I was certainly capable of arrogance. I tell him that I’ve changed – now more calm and considered – but he’s agitated–makes a scene. I can’t see that it matters whither our sense of self is real or imagined – we’re stuck with it. But it matters to me that human consciousness is continuous from the time of Ecclesiastes, 500 BC. The internet doesn’t penetrate our inner world – not yet anyway.


On Wednesday I attended a public meeting about local democracy – which I shouldn’t do – get too worked up. With a missing tier at community level – Scotland has the most inept representative structure of all countries examined (the stats are indisputable.) Robin McAlpine and Lesley Riddoch spoke with passion and admirable perseverance; because we live under a Govt which, after nine years in office, have no plans or intent to restructure local democracy – not even the pretence of an enquiry. The goodwill of citizens towards their communities is Scotland’s greatest unrealised asset – attracting a determined blank from politicians.


Throughout my lifetime, ‘the holy land’ has been a warzone – the way Israel has been permitted to treat Palestine is a matter of deep shame for the world community.  This graphic, posted by the USA MSNBC shows Palestinian ‘land loss’ to Israel from 1946 to the present day – makes me think of ethnic cleansing.  Black South Africans could not have escaped Apartheid without the solidarity of external protests and pressure.  The demonstration of support for Palestine, staged by Celtic supporters in their match against the Israeli side, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, last week, does them credit; let’s hope the protest spreads.


Enjoyed this article in the Observer affirming the view that neoliberalism has had its day – wondering what comes next.  Senscot now subscribes to the USA online Yes magazine – (super positive).  This short piece by David Korten has a similar theme – that the failed economic system is a con – perpetrated by ‘the winners’ to keep power. But in communities around the world, a movement builds for a new money system which will work for all and our planet; all it needs is enough people to believe it.

I vote for the Scottish Green Party – because they are pro independence – with policies more consistently democratic than the SNP; this does not prevent me appreciating many qualities of the present administration – including its consistent support for what the third sector contributes to society. This piece by James McEnaney in Commonspace expresses disappointment that Nicola Sturgeon’s promise of a new kind of politics translates into the embarrassing appointment of ministerial aides on to scrutiny committees; an abuse of power which compromises the integrity of our parliament.

This case study of the Tulchan estate in Morayshire – researched by the intrepid Andy Wightman – gives a glimpse of the determination which will be required to bring Scotland’s land under the control of those who live on it.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Impact Arts (Projects) Ltd, Lyth Arts Centre, The Larder West Lothian, Glasgow Social Enterprise Network, Creating Conversations, Kingdom Housing Association, Inverkip Community Initiative, Resonate
EVENTS: Back to Blairgowrie TMSA Concert: 50 years of history in one night, 27 Aug; Stirling SOUP, 02 Sep; The Scottish Land Reform Conference 2016 – What Next for Land Reform?, 23 Sep,
TENDERS: Governance Review – Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface; Animation for Young People – NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Lothian; Energy Efficiency Advice Service – East Lothian Council; Community Allotments Landscape Design & Contract Management – North Lanarkshire Council and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.

The SENs Weekly Update
: Kim writes: Great turn out for the SEN Co-ordinators meeting in Edinburgh this week. The main agenda item for the meeting was Tourism with a very informative presentation from Caroline Warburton, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Industry Leadership Group for tourism and the leading voice for the tourism sector in Scotland. Senscot has been working on tourism for the last couple of years and have a dedicated section on the website. In the coming months we’ll be working with local and thematic SENs on a number of actions relating to tourism – for further information contact Sarah.


Couple of our sector’s ‘big’ events are looming up over the next couple of weeks. First up is the 2016 DTA Scotland Conference on 4th/5th Sept at the Westerwood in Cumbernauld. The theme this year is – “ Climate Change, Localism and Social Justice”. Bookings close on Monday 29th August. A couple of days later (7th Sept) sees the 10th CEIS SE Policy and Practice Conference at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow. This year’s Programme includes a keynote speech fromAngela Constance (Cab Sec for Communities, Social Security and Equalities) plus a summary of key issues emerging from the new SE Strategy. See Registration form


Enjoyed this blog by David Bryan who runs the Social Enterprise Academy’s northern Hub.  He pays a well-deserved tribute to the impact of community enterprise in the Highlands and Islands. Another item worth looking at is this short video (15 mins) from last month’s TEDx event in Findhorn where our old pal and local resident, Alex Walker, shared some insights from 30-odd years as a community activist.


On the evening of Thursday 6th October – in Govan Old Parish Church – Jeremy Corbyn will deliver the annual Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture.  “Jimmy Reid is one of the most outstanding socialist fighters Scotland has ever produced.”

An outfit called Demos Scotland has launched with the intention of leading the drafting of a prototype Scottish constitution; this exercise is separate from our Govt and invites participation.


Update: The BroomPower Community Shares offer runs till 31st August 2016 – less than one week to go. Since our last update earlier in the month, the share offer has attracted over £200k in additional investment – taking the current total to almost £500k. They’re over half-way and looking for a final push to reach their £900k target – to establish a community-owned hydro-electric scheme on the Allt a’ Mhuilinn – just south of Ullapool. See investment info here.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Dundee that aims to provide floor-space to budding artists and designers hoping to reach a wider audience. Based in premises in Albert Square in the City, Kissed has transformed a run-down building into a food and art hub where new start-ups can showcase their work. Kissed also offers opportunities for hospitality and retail graduates to be employed at the venue, which has its own coffee shop. Part of their idea is to help graduates and others make the leap from the university environment to the “real world” of work, including becoming an entrepreneur. Kissed will be holding its formal launch on 22nd Sept.


I’m addicted to quotations – how they can penetrate truth. In American writer Ursula Le Guin, I’ve found a new source of inspiration and companionship. You may want to browse pages of her exceptional wisdom.


–          You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
–          There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.
–          Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
–          Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.
–          It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

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