Senscot Bulletin 28-02-2003



Dear Members and friends,


A friend of mine knows someone who’s a member of Tony
Blair’s ‘court’. It seems that all the courtiers know that their future hangs
on a ‘shoogly nail’ over Iraq – but the PM will not be diverted from war and
martyrdom. The insider’s view of the bond between Bush and Blair is ‘Christian
soldiers’. Messianic zealots of whatever persuasion can be dangerous.

brush with ‘Holy Willies’ on Wednesday. We were making the tea – doorbell goes
– two men in suits. “Oh no, that’s the Mormons back,” Anne said. “On Monday
they wouldn’t go.” “Leave this to me” Their smug, serene faces set me off.
“Before you speak, gentlemen, I want to say something: have you any idea how
condescending and intrusive normal people find it…” I spoke without pausing for
a full minute – ended “…Because you believe you are here on behalf of Jesus you
will not heed one word I’ve said, but that’s okay as long as you don’t return
to this door.”

spokesman for the ‘pair’ gave me a patient smile – and his card. Without my
glasses I could only read the big writing which said ‘Sheriff Officer’.



Down in ‘the Smoke’ on Monday/Tuesday – plodding round
carrying my coat – London is certainly a few degrees warmer than Scotland. Also
true of the political climate for social enterprise – the difference between
the Scottish and English Labour parties. Scottish Labour politicians can be
either condescending or downright hostile to the idea of empowering communities
to their own businesses and wealth. In England, Patricia Hewitt, Stephen Timms
and several other heavyweight ministers are committed advocates of our sector.
This was brought home to me again on Tuesday on a fraternal visit to the Social
Enterprise unit at the DTA. To my surprise and delight, Barbara Phillips, who
heads the unit, joined us for a while and shared some of her thinking (of which
more in future bulletins). It’s not ‘cool’ for civil servants to appear overly
‘passionate’, but this visit gave me great heart. Small, committed team – a
clear mission – intelligent energy focussed on empowering social enterprise.
Some of this will reach Scotland.



The 14 founding members of the Scottish Social Enterprise
Coalition will meet on 6 March to formally adopt our charter: “The coalition
will seek to represent the needs of the Social enterprise sector to Scottish
government, policy makers, opinion formers and financiers to ensure that in all
devolved areas the social enterprise agenda is delivered in Scotland”. A copy
of the Charter and a list of the founding members can be found at   Members are asked to consider supporting
the coalition by enlisting as individual or associate members. Info from Claire
Brady at



Ian McWhirter wrote in the Herald recently that people in
Scotland are sick to death of the ‘duplicity and venality’ of politicians from
whatever party. He said a low poll in May would suit the machine politicians –
who just carry on governing regardless. “But they would get one hell of a scare
if the people decided to assert themselves at the ballot box as they did
recently on the streets. There’s now a real chance the Scottish elections could
turn into a referendum, not just on Iraq, but on the entire political system.”

A member e-mails from Edinburgh:
“Community activists may not be aware how simple it is to stand for your local
Council in the forthcoming May elections. Simply complete and submit a form to
the council election office between 21 March and 7 April and you’re on the
ballot paper.” Senscot has made twelve unsuccessful phone calls to find a note
of the procedures, but it’s like drawing teeth. We’re on the case – more next



‘CAN YOU HELP?’ Senscot has received several
appeals for information about insurance products. Smaller organisations with
less than 20 employees are finding that they can’t get public and employers
liability or contents cover as their work involves outreach work. For more
information, see ‘Can You Help?’ at the ‘Hot pages’ on the Senscot site.


NOTICES: See Hot Pages at for
more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant notice
you’d like posted, send it to


‘Imagine Scotland – and make it happen! A ‘community
building’ to talk and take action on Scotland’s future, Friday 4 -Saturday 5
April 2003 at Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot Watt University  (lunch time to lunch time): open event at a
low cost, “for free thinkers, decision makers, people on the ground… a creative
mix”. More info, contact Debbie Wilkie 0131 225 6885


The Deputy Director of the Ford Foundation in the USA, John
Colburn, is visiting Scotland 26-30 May.  Visit sponsored by The Wise
Group and CEiS.  Mr Colburn will be talking about the work the Ford
Foundation does re not-for-profit issues. Further info on Ford Foundation


‘Transforming Your Space’ is a new funding programme administered
by The New Opportunities Fund’s Fresh Futures for This is a new Fund launched
in Early February 2003. Aim is to give applicants decision within 8 wks. More


Scottish Community Development Centre is running 1-day
training events to help members of community organisations examine ways of
becoming less grant-dependant by unlocking the trading opportunities that exist
within their organisations. 25 March, Edinburgh; 11 April Inverness; 30 May
Glasgow. Further info: Carolyn Scott, 0141 248 1924 or, or


Four Winds Inspiration Centre Programme 2003 now available
wide range of craft, herbal, earth skills & wilderness survival Saturday
classes: 0131.332.2229 for a copy or 



This week we profile a project that has provided a voice for
the community recyclers, composters and re-users delivering local solutions to
the waste problem and so bringing economic, social and environmental benefit to
the community. RAGS (Recycling Advisory Group Scotland) was formed in 1993 to
promote, inform, research and facilitate sustainable waste management. RAGS has
also established the Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS) to provide a
one-stop-shop for information and support for community organisations involved
in recycling, reuse and waste reduction activities in Scotland. CRNS membership
is presently free and open to all community-based groups, be they involved in practical
recycling projects, reuse schemes, waste reduction initiatives, education and
promotion programmes or lobbying. There are currently over 60 members across
Scotland. Further info
(Project Profiles): 



Last week 64 visitors to our website looked at Andrew
Phillips’ talk on “The Charity/Business duet: harmony or discord?” Page hits
have been steadily increasing – last week 1600 – so if you have any papers/
articles that you think may be of interest to our network, please forward
electronic versions to



One month left to pay subs. If you can, please take the time
to send your subscription for 2003. More info at this link:  



Welsh poet RS Thomas died three years ago in his eighties.
He was an Anglican priest, but his faith was not an easy one, and often his
voice sounds more humanist than Christian. In “The Bright Field” he wants to
become more conscious of what’s happening in his life right now – and to have
the courage to commit to it. Very Buddhist.


“I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small
field for a while, and gone my way and forgotten it. But that was the pearl of
great price, the one field that had the treasure in it. I realise now that I
must give all that I have to possess it. Life is not hurrying on to a receding
future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like
Moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness

that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is the
eternity that awaits you.”


That’s all for this week. ‘carpe diem’ – seize the day.

Best wishes,




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