Senscot Bulletin: 28.04.17

 Dear members and friends,


            Many restaurants on the Costa del Sol have a ‘pop up’ element; typically a secured ‘pod’ – of kitchen, toilets, furniture etc. – which miraculously becomes a fully-fledged, alfresco restaurant; some impressive transformations – but metaphor for an aspect of costa life – flash, transitory, provisional.
I avoid such places in favour of those serving local people all the year round.  As important as the food for me are the people – whither they smile and share a craic.  I look for good faces – goodwill – honest food.
            I brought Cormac McCarthy’s ‘All the Pretty Horses’ on holiday with me – quickly captivated again by its gloomy, lyrical magic; he renders some of the dialogue in simple, untranslated Spanish – which caught the holiday mood.  I love this novel at so many levels: its evocation of a vanished American age: its morality: the passing of childhood and innocence: it’s simple celebration of horses and the rugged outdoor life…  But as I write I’m thinking of McCarthy’s awareness of the power and significance of normal human courtesy; this passage illustrates.
            The hero of Pretty Horses, John Grady, hitches a lift on a flatbed truck with some farmworkers: “who nodded and spoke to him with great circumspection and courtesy… and for a long time after he would evoke the recollection of those smiles and reflect upon the goodwill which provoked them – for it had power to protect and confer honour and strengthen resolve and it had power to heal men and to bring them to safety long after all the other resources are exhausted.”  This passage stays with me: la cortesia.


A global trend in recent years has seen nation-states of major consequence drift from liberal democracy towards authoritarianism – I include the USA. Here in the UK, former ambassador Craig Murray points out that Theresa May’s policies are the same as the British National Party’s 2005 manifesto; right wing media propaganda masks how markedly our society has changed. All forecasts for the June General Election predict an overwhelming Tory majority, but we Brits don’t favour such imbalance – too one-sided. If the electorate don’t find a way of preventing a rout at the ballot box – it’s questionable how long an unrestrained Tory club at Westminster can sustain a ‘United Kingdom’.


For me, the ideal local councillor would be selected by a peer group of local activists – rather than from the ‘slate’ of a political party; a local person, politicised through direct involvement in local campaigns. Such is the story of Catherine Milligan from Castlemilk who talks here about the energy, self-belief, creativity and imagination of the 2014 indyref campaign – how they couldn’t just let it dissolve. So she and her friends founded Castlemilk Against Austerity – a non-party political community group which boldly put her up for the Council. On Thursday night, I’ll look for the name Milligan. Here, Lesley Riddoch urges all to vote.


Rebecca Hilsenrath – chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission – has written to Damian Hinds MP – Minister of State for Employment on the matter of the new Child Tax Credit regs.  Herletter expresses the commission’s concerns about the regressive nature of the legislation – and in particular the invasive reporting requirements of the rape exemption clause. A lot of credit for raising our awareness of this issue is down to Alison Thewlis (MP for Glasgow Central).  Also this week – a joint statementby all the human rights commission chairs – urged the Govt. not to use Brexit to weaken human rights law.


I try not to think about Donald Trump – too unpleasant; but I link to this demolition article by David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker – who looks at “A Hundred Days of Trump”.  This merciless exposure of his life and career, portrays him as an unprincipled, cocky, value-free ‘con’ – who has now become a national and global peril.  “It is said that each epoch dreams the one to follow.  The task now is not merely to recognise this presidency for the emergency it is – but to devise a future – to organise, to preserve and restore precious things”.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: BOLD, Stramash Social Enterprise, The Caravan Project , Crossroads Caring Scotland, Loch Arthur Camphill Community, Wasps Studios, Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust,
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 6 May; Carluke on the Run 2017, 21 May; SE: Start-up Awareness, 24 May; Supporting Communities Through Social Enterprise: Bringing Your Ideas To Life, 1 Jun;
TENDERS: External Painter Work Programme 2017/18 – Fife Housing Association; Professional Services for CHArts Place Partnership Project – Argyll and Bute Council; Colzium Visitors Centre Landscaping – North Lanarkshire Council and more.  Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: Wednesday evening saw a gathering at the Glad Café in Glasgow to celebrate the ‘incorporation’ of Glasgow SEN (GSEN) as an independent organisation. Over a number of years being supported by CEiS, GSEN is now ‘flying solo’. Over 70 folk heard Betty Elliot (Chair), Will Tyler- Greig (Scottish Govt TSD), Rachel Smillie (Glad Café) and Tom Binns (Glasgow Piano City) acknowledge the many contributions made in getting GSEN to this point as well as reflecting on what the future holds for SE support in Glasgow. Already, GSEN has made a significant mark – attracting over 130 members as well as building strong links across the public, private and third sectors in the city. Senscot passes on its congratulations and best wishes for the exciting times ahead.


Senscot will be holding its 17th AGM on Thursday 11th May 2017 (11am-1pm) at EVH’s Offices at 137 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EW (5th floor). Each year, we host a discussion session on an issue topical to the SE community in Scotland. This year’s discussion will focus on the new Social Enterprise Action Plan – and will include a series of contributions from speakers offering their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for the sector through the Action Plan. If you would like to attend, please see booking form. The event is free – although, due to space, priority will be given to members.


April’s SCRT Bulletin is now out with stories covering: a record-breaking year for Scottish Friendly (Scotland’s largest Mutual); Scotcash opening up in Edinburgh; and Triodos’ new personal current accounts.


By coincidence – while I was over in Malaga – there was an important five day conference under the umbrella title of ‘the new economy’; it was organised by the New Economy and Social Innovation Forum NESI.  400 experts and activists from 43 countries assembled to hear the ‘Charter of Malaga’ –  “We dream of a new, more sustainable, fair, collaborative economy centred around people – and today we commit to its co-creation.”  It’s encouraging to see the range of international partners in this collaboration.   


Part of Scottish Govt’s 10 year SE Action Plan includes holding a census of the sector every couple of years. As well as being an ‘official count’ of SEs in Scotland, theses censuses will also help inform and influence the shape of future Action Plans – as has been the case with SE Census 2015. The second ‘official count’ is now underway – with the launch of the SE Census 2017 last week – and only takes around 10-15 mins to complete. Your participation would be very much appreciated.


In this week’s bulletin, we profile a community enterprise that sprung into existence in a time of acute local need. New Galloway Community Enterprises Ltd (NGCE) is a community benefit company whose mission is to purchase the last remaining general store in the New Galloway village, saving it from closure. A Big Lottery Fund grant is dependent on the success of a £20,000 community share offer, with £14,000 raised inside two weeks. If successful, NGCE will convert the shop into a community hub providing high quality food for residents, a dedicated community engagement officer as well as a self-catering apartment to raise money for local charitable causes.


In 1969, as his classic TV series Civilisation ended, Kenneth Clark made these concluding remarks:

 "I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is better than ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people. And I think that we are part of a great whole which we call nature – that all living things are our brothers and sisters.”


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