Senscot Bulletin 26-09-2003




Dear members and friends,


Charles Darwin noted that in certain birds the migratory
impulse is stronger than the maternal. 
A mother will abandon her fledglings in the nest rather than miss her
appointment for the long journey south. 
He quotes the example of an Audobons goose, which, deprived of its
pinion feathers, started out to walk the journey on foot.  He describes the suffering of a bird, penned
up at the season of its migration, which would flail its wings and bloody its
breast against the bars of its cage.  In
a poem called ‘Limits’, Raymond Carver tells of a Canada goose with a broken
wing which is deliberately kept alive in a barrel as a living decoy.  “It would bring other geese right down on
your head.  So close you could almost
touch them before you killed them.  I
took a good long look in the barrel and unmoving, the goose looked back.  Only its eyes telling me it was alive.”  This story disturbs – its cruelty stirs some
unconscious dread. 

            On a
cheerier note I feel ‘on the mend’ – a wee bit each day I recover an appetite
for food, books and people (in that order). 
Using trolley as a zimmer I shuffle round Tesco’s.  Keep it simple.  Probably take six weeks to get back to normal – this forced pause
brings new imaginings – perhaps new adventures?  We shall see.  When my
wings heal – the autumn migration to the Sierras of Southern Andalucia.



On Wednesday afternoon the Minister for Communities told
Parliament that she will publish a draft Charities Bill in April – developed in
consultation with the sector.  She has
even conceded the most contentious issue – that the regulator should be
independent of government.  Questioned
on this issue she said,  “I am not one
who would want to give away control unless I had to.  Can I qualify that statement? 
I had better be careful.  There
is a valid argument for having space from the government.  There is a need for more independence and
for statutory regulation.” 
Congratulations are due to Jackie Baillie for her ‘rebel bill’ and also
to Stephen Maxwell and ‘the troops’ at SCVO for their dogged persistence.  (



In 2001 Gordon Brown said that we would see “the biggest
transformation of the relationship between the state and voluntary action for a
century”.  In the period since then the
UK Government – across several departments – has invested a level of commitment
to strengthening and modernising our sector which I’ve never seen in my
lifetime.  Will Hutton – CEO of the Work
Foundations and wise pundit in these matters says, in a contribution to a new
book, “Replacing the State”, that more voluntary sector involvement in the
delivery of public services in inevitable. 
He argues that the sector’s social entrepreneurship, local accountability
and ability to act quickly makes it ideally suited.  But Hutton suggests that by taking large public sector contracts,
organisations may find that they take on the guise of the state and lose
exactly the qualities that make them effective.  (;



We have reported from time to time on the progress of
Scottish Executive consultations with the sector around the development of
their Review of the Social Economy (ROSE) document into an Action Plan.  Their strategy will try to set a framework
which can include a wide range of contributors (eg. FutureBuilders) but the
ROSE document makes it clear – this is about readiness for public service
delivery.  The Senscot conference this
year (November 19th) has intentionally been timed to follow the
publication of the Scottish Executive Action Plan.  Our core membership tends to be at the community based start up
end of Social Enterprise and our conference will look at the new proposals from
that perspective.  (



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 19 vacancies, including posts at Gorbals Community
Forum, Communities Scotland, Edinburgh Tenants Federation, Kingsway Court
Health & Well-being Centre, Venture Scotland, YMCA Paisley, Partners in
Play, Equality Choice Action Support, Community Development Foundation, BTCV.


EVENTS: “Inspire” Seminar, ‘Charity VAT’, Oct 2; Leadership
Calling Workshop Oct 19-25; ‘Connector’ arts and community event, Glasgow, Oct
25; Social Enterprise Procurement Conference Oct 29; EDAS conference Oct 31;
Engender Training Sept & Oct; SEDI Training Days Sept-Nov; Falkirk College
Enterprise Day, Nov 12 (revised date); CVS Fife, `An Agenda for Action`, Nov


BUSINESS: Out of the Blue arts and education trust has
spaces still available for lease at new premises off Leith Walk, Edinburgh.
Services, good transport links, parking, independent access, facilities. etc


PUBLICATIONS: Futurebuilders final report:


For details on these and more:



Muhammad Yunus, the social entrepreneur who started the
global microcredit movement, has kicked off an online forum running until 5th
October, on "What Does It Take to Be a Social Entrepreneur?" There’s
a busy and interesting discussion going on there:



This week’s bulletin profiles the first truly island Social
Firm in Scotland. Touchwood was established in 2001 by the Social Firm Development
Group and is located in Uig on the Isle of Skye. Touchwood runs a
wood-recycling workshop, working mainly with discarded pallets to create
bespoke pieces of furniture. They currently employ 6 full time and 2 part time
workers in the manufacture of small pieces of furniture, ornaments & gifts.
Orders are currently being processed for bespoke pieces, and Touchwood will
soon be launching a catalogue and web-site offering a range of ‘off the shelf’
pieces. As well as generating income through manufacturing in the workshop,
Touchwood also raises money through room and workshop hire as well as providing
access to computers and the internet for the local community For further
information, see (Project



In ‘The Wealth of Nations’ Adam Smith described ‘liberalism’
but he would be shocked to see how extreme it has become with the modern rise
of ‘neo-liberalism’. The dominant value system of our society today – the model
for our young people – rewards greed, ruthless drive and selfishness. We are
told that society exists to serve the economy – not the other way round – that
the market knows best and must not be interfered with. But the endless push for
economic growth widens the gap between rich and poor – threatens to destroy
society. For this reason many of us hope that the collapse of the WTO talks at
Cancun is some kind of turning point. The G21 group of developing nations
(including India, China, Brazil etc) have denounced the WTO as ‘working to
promote corporate interests’. World trade negotiations will never be the same
again. (Interesting article on neo-liberalism:



Global ‘interconnectedness’ is expressed by Ronald Nakasone
in ‘The Ethics of Enlightenment’,

is one single body.  What touches one
part of this body touches all.  Touch
one strand and the entire web vibrates. 
Humanity shares a single destiny. 
This sharing of destiny, this network of interdependence is infinite in
scope.  My life and yours are completely
autonomous.  Yet we each exist only in
total resonance with all other beings.”


That’s it for this week. Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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