Senscot Bulletin: 29-04-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


Tuesday’s Herald: ‘Riot police board ferry as 100 fans battle’ – dozens of reported incidents – thousands of unreported incidents of hostility between citizens.  It’s the old firm game again.  I remember I saw the Beatles in the Regal Cinema in Edinburgh – the screaming hysteria of the crowd drowned out the PA system – John Lennon kept appealing for order. Paul had said that he loved jelly babies – thousands of them rained on to the stage – stinging the boys faces – they had to walk off.  Shortly after, the fab 4 stopped touring – decided their live performances had little to do with music – just a circus.

            That’s what the old firm is really – a circus show which generates huge money.  We Scots spend £400 million a year watching football – a slice for Rupert Murdoch’s ’empire of darkness’ – but the biggest slice for Rangers and Celtic – two legs of the colossus which bestrides the narrow world of Scottish Football.  They’ve perfected one of the greatest shows on earth – a double act – orchestrated sectarian combat – a pretend war which is real and ugly – cynically recycling ancient bitterness.

            There can be something of ‘the barras’ about our First Minister – but he’s got this one spot on.  ‘This is not acceptable’ he says – he has outed the hypocrisy of the vested interests who go ‘tut tut’ as they wind up their money machine. Last time I visited one of these sectarian citadels – made the mistake of cheering when Hibs scored – spat upon – won’t be back.




One of the major determinants of the growth of social enterprise in Scotland will be the extent to which Housing Associations and their capital assets can be drawn into the picture.  The social housing sector has an estimated capital value of around £6 billion – and through ‘wider action’ programmes – this financial power could fuel a new generation of social businesses delivering services to communities.  The Scottish Federations of Housing Associations – the sector’s umbrella group – is currently recruiting a new CEO SFHA It will be crucial whether they appoint a housing manager or a social entrepreneur.  We referred last week to Pete Garcia’s visit promoting community ownership of assets.  Tim Williams – who chaired that conference has written ‘Without land – and the money and independence which it can give you – we have the alternative of the dead hand of the state attempting to do regeneration to communities.’



The Scottish Centre for Regeneration as part of Communities Scotland seems to have settled in as an instrument of government policy.  Of more independent mind is SURF – which continues to evolve as a place where more radical regeneration issues can be discussed.  Noted last week that the contract to manage the new Community Voices Network has been won by private consultancy – Paul Zealy Associates.  It will be interesting to see what ‘accent’ Community Voices adopts.



SURF is holding a seminar on 9 June in Glasgow around the importance of Cultural Planning for Regeneration.  Very important theme (Liz Gardiner on Senscot board is fervent advocate) but there is the ongoing issue of fee levels. £140 for the day excludes activists without patronage.



We mentioned last week that Holmhill in Dunblane have been refused permission by the Scottish Executive for a late registration of interest to purchase land.  As Angus Hardie points out in the attached letter this interpretation of the act has very serious implications for community groups – who by their nature, will often be forming to react to a land owners decision to sell.  Holmhill have decided to challenge this decision in court and are looking for help to pay the ‘brief’.  


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


JOBS: 42 vacancies, incl. posts with: Gallery 37 Edinburgh initiative, Community Transport Association, Scottish federation of Housing Associations, Big Issue in Scotland,  


EVENTS: Green Futures Environmental Fair, Talamh Life Centre, nr Coalburn, Sth Lanarkshire, May 7-8; Lothian & Borders Waste Strategy Area Group, focus, Edinburgh -13 May; ‘National Standards for Community Engagement’ Conferences, Dundee – 16 May, Glasgow – 18 May, Edinburgh – 20 May; ‘Making the case for the Social Economy’, conf., Edinburgh – 1 June.


Social Enterprise Academy ‘Learning Journey’ – 2-day residential course on Innovation in Social Enterprise – 16 -17 May.  Cost £495 (Scottish Enterprise Glasgow will cover percentage of cost for established social enterprise in Glasgow). Please contact Jayne Rowe at the Academy – 0131 220 5333 – for more details



Received new glossy mag. called View – ‘quarterly policy journal show-casing thinking from Scottish Civil Society’ enjoyed Stephen Maxwell’s piece on Empowering Democracy – his vision of Scotland’s empowered communities in the year 2015:

For a free copy email



The Futurebuilders Scotland report published last August contained a commitment from the Executive to establish new local social economy partnerships ( The following link is to a progress report which shows activity in all local authority areas except 6: the three Ayrshire Councils, East Lothian, West Lothian and Dumfries & Galloway.



This week’s bulletin profiles a co-operative of media professionals based in Glasgow – Media Co-op. Media Co-op is made up of an award – winning team of film-makers who believe that video and DVD’s are powerful tools for campaigning, lobbying, advocacy and raising awareness. They specialise in creating broadcast-quality promotional and campaigning video and DVD for social enterprises and other organisations in the social economy. Some of the awards the team have accrued, include BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award, ECHO Human Rights Award and Amnesty International’s Media Award. Founded in 2004, Media Co-op offers a consultation, free-of-charge with no obligation, to discuss your ideas and what can be offered. For info’, see



Love the sound of the Community Renewable Energy conference in Knoydart on 11/12/13 May – ‘please bring a torch and midge lotion.’  The only visit I made to Knoydart I was attacked by a gaggle of geese.  But now the estate is in community ownership – with its own hydro electric plant – what better place to hold this gathering? – this one for adventurers –



Reading again the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Ostensibly a children’s story – but its child like insights make it a thought provoking allegory on the human condition. ‘Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves and it’s tedious for children to have to explain things to them time and again.’  Saint Ex was an adventurer, obsessed with aviation – once wrote – ‘I live in the realm of flight.’  He seems to have found himself – by getting lost – attracted to ‘a remoteness beyond possibility of homecoming.’  He died as he dreamed – the pilot/poet – he crashed into the Med, aged 44.  Saint Ex believed that the only true wealth in life is human solidarity – that mutual responsibility the only ethic.  In ‘The Little Prince’ he says ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly – what is essential is invisible to the eye.’


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


Best wishes,



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