SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 181, FRIDAY 6th
Dear Members and friends,
In 1971 I was arrested right outside 10 Downing Street. Down
watching Scotland getting gubbed at Wembley
– I was driving a van for a dozen tearaways from our youth club – I must
have been mad. It takes until 7pm
Sunday to assemble nine of them – in various dishevelled states – and we set
off for Edinburgh. By chance I’m heading up Whitehall – Downing Street is next
left – on impulse I swing the van in. “This is where the Prime Minister lives.”
As we pass the door a policeman snatches a phone – “Better just leave.” By
mounting both kerbs I do a one-point turn but they are pouring out of Number 10
like Keystone Cops and surround the van. I blow into a bag – marginally over
the limit – arrested. They insist everyone gets out – nine smelly youths wander
into the night – Police driver takes the van and me to police station. After an
hour I’m declared fit to drive – released without charge. Sergeant says, “Next
time you visit Number 10 – make sure you’re invited.”
invitation to Number 10 never came but last year I got invited to Number 11 for
a ‘social entrepreneurs breakfast’. 50 of us in big first floor room – but something
puts me in black mood. Entrepreneurs en masse are vexatious. The Chancellor
joins us for an hour – does the rounds.
His route takes him close to the corner where I’m skulking in sullen huff. A
young researcher with the eyes of a sparrowhawk asks “Have you met Gordon?” I
try to look ‘above it all’ – “I remember him as a student in Edinburgh,” I say
smugly. Then without warning, this twerp says “Gordon, this is Laurence
Demarco. I believe you were students together.” What an embarrassment – I nearly
wet myself. But he didn’t shop me – just a tired smile. He looked hungover.
Recently on the packed 5.30 train from Glasgow to Edinburgh
I got the fourth seat at a table with three suits in their thirties – two women
and a guy. It was soon clear that they worked at Victoria Quay (civil servants)
because they were chatting quite openly about the ‘disfunctional’ relationship
between the Scottish Executive and Communities Scotland. If what they said is
true, CS is being undermined by elements within the ‘established’ civil
service. It’s as well they changed the subject – their negativity was getting
to me, and I was on the point of joining in.
We aimed at 50 as the ideal number for our AGM and that’s
more or less the number who have said they want to come. The appearance of
David Puttnam has not been advertised in the press as we really only want
Senscot folk. Attendees will be sent our annual report /accounts electronically
next week. If your circumstances have changed and you want to add your name
just email firstname.lastname@example.org. More details
The Scottish Executive’s Policy for the social economy is
outlined in the ‘Purple’ Report published in January. On April 30th the
Executive hosted a seminar for 24 ‘thinkers’ in the sector to discuss how best
to develop it into a strategy. The main
outcome of the Perth seminar (list of attendees on website: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/SEIS02.05.03.asp)
was that seven ‘strands’ were identified which are now being pursued through
wider consultation in a series of seminars.
The intention is that by the end of the summer a strategy will emerge
expressed in a funded action plan – If you feel you have a comment to make to
this process the seven ‘strands’ – topic leaders and e-mail addresses are
posted on our site at: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/SETopics06.06.03.asp
Some may see Jackie Baillie’s private members bill to
regulate charities in Scotland as political opportunism – but good luck to her.
We need such a bill urgently and hers is better than the toothless proposal of
the Executive – to be delivered sometime. Baillie’s bill is based on the
recommendations of the McFadden Report, complete with independent regulator.
Will SCVO now support the rebel bill rather than the Executive proposal? (http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/CharityScandal04.06.03.asp)
“Load of Rubbish”, Waste Management Day, 10am-5pm Sat 7th
June, Macmillan Hall, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, to publicise and promote
growing number of initiatives occurring in this field. Stalls, Workshops,
Fashion Show, refreshments, plus public forum, with panel incl. several MSPs.
Glasgow: office accommodation to let adjacent to Glasgow
Sheriff Court. City Centre, Central & Queen St Stations all in walking
distance. Contact: Anne Watson Property Manager, Mir Village, 71 Oxford Street,
Glasgow, G5 9EP, 0141 418 7000.
Social Enterprise Development Initiative ‘Introduction To
Social Enterprise’ Training Course Date: Tuesday 24 June, 2-4.30pm Hays
Community Business Centre, Craigmillar, Edinburgh. Contact Stephanie Wilson
0131 539 8056, email@example.com.
(booking form: www.sedi.info)
‘Islam in a Changing Europe: past, present, and future
perspectives’. Wed 18 June, 7pm for 7.30- 9.30pm, Edinburgh Central Mosque,
organised by The Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Edinburgh Central Mosque, Islamic
Society of Edinburgh University, EICWS, and with sponsorship from UNA
Edinburgh Treefest 2003, Inverleith Park Sat 14- Sun15 June,
11am-5pm: interactive crafts, displays, demonstrations, axe throwing, horse
logging, refreshments, beer tent, information, etc. Admission free.
A community-led project in Sheffield providing ‘regeneration
apprenticeships’ has been so successful that a similar scheme is being launched
in the North East. Regen School North East will accept its first intake of 34
students in July (www.regenschool.com).
Meanwhile in Scotland discussions towards creating such a service continue to
meander on. The latest proposal for a Social enterprise Academy is with the
usual bunch of funders. We would have been better just setting it up ages ago.
This week’s bulletin profiles a Community Transport Project
based in Glasgow. Castlemilk Community Transport limited (CCTL) was set up by
local people in 1996. CCTL provides transport services to groups and
organisations that serve disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society. Their
services include: affordable minibus hire for not-for-profit groups in
Castlemilk and adjacent areas of Glasgow, Midas driver training courses for
volunteer and community drivers in the West of Scotland, Information and
consulting to other transport and community groups in Scotland that are seeking
advice on transport issues. The organisation is managed by local residents,
employing its own staff as well as a number of volunteers and currently has a
fleet of five vehicles. Further info: www.senscot.net
In his 1935 novel ‘The Shipbuilders’, George Blake wrote of
the crowd at a Rangers-Celtic game, “it was as if a fever of hate had seized
that multitude – neutralising for the time everything gracious and kindly.” 70
years later this hatred still flourishes, and with so much money involved we
must ask how sincere are the efforts to end it. Someone wrote recently “The
Rangers-Celtic rivalry no longer represents the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of
Scotland’s sectarian divide – it is the iceberg itself.” Those who work for
social progress in our country will need to address this huge diversion of
passion and energy.
Sylvia Plath wrote “My poems do not turn out to be about
Hiroshima, but about a child forming itself finger by finger in the dark. They
are not about the terrors of mass extinction, but about the bleakness of the
moon over a yew tree in a neighbouring graveyard. In a sense these poems are
deflections. I do not think they are an escape.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.
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