Dear members and friends,
One of the books in my wee pile just now is called Incognito by the neuroscientist David Eagleman. He says: "this book was written over the course of a few years by several different people – all of whom were named David Eagleman – but who were somewhat different with each passing hour." Self, for him, is nothing fixed – but a constant state of adaptation – a dynamic process of becoming – over time, many different people (see end piece).
Over the weekend, one of my previous selves made an unexpected appearance. Pottering in the garden, I heard first Hibs (Saturday) then Hearts (Sunday) progress to the final of the Scottish Cup (apparently the first time this has happened since 1896). For a period in my life, the Hibees were very important to me – a bunch of us went to all the games – sang the songs – passionate. But over time I got to know some of the players and directors – too mercenary for my romantic spirit; disillusioned, my loyalty moved to other forlorn endeavours.
Over the next few weeks – as the hype builds towards "the greatest derby game of all time" – I’ll try to stay detached; but who am I kidding. I’ll be at Hampden on May 19th, with some of the old bunch and whether I intend it or not – I’ll be roaring. Yes, we change over time – but the influences of childhood endure. A Christian mystic once said: "May God deny you peace – but give you glory." I’ll settle for that – Glory, Glory.
Prince Charles held a meeting at Clarence House last month – to discuss the future of Social Impact Bonds – I’m not having a laugh! This royal benediction – attended by Big Society Capital, The Lottery, all the usual suspects – is part of the carefully organised campaign which is currently redefining investment in the third sector. The new model involves debt finance, at commercial rates – attached to ‘payment by results’ public contracts; the social sector as a new asset class – a subset of the market. Can any of our readers put me in touch with a serious debate within the third sector – which is looking at the long term implications, for our work, of these changes? The investment bankers and politicians driving this agenda must be pleasantly surprised at how submissive we are. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12188
An important piece of work has just been completed by Highland Island Enterprise (HIE) – a profiling exercise of the social enterprise sector throughout their area. By our reckoning, this is the first piece of research of any scale in Scotland that has been specific to social enterprise. We’ll have more on this next week. See Executive Summary, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12192
"Three weeks old, warm and gently snoring on my shoulder as I write, you are closer to nature than you will ever be again. With your animal needs and animal cries, moved by a slow primordial spirit that will soon be submerged in the cacophony of thought and language, you belong, it seems to me, more to the biosphere than to the human sphere." Thus, George Monbiot begins his reflections on the diminished world his 3 week old daughter will inherit from our profligacy. Thoughts on the ‘rewilding’ – (ecological restoration) of the natural world; on ‘attached parenting’ – the one sure foundation of a better world. https://senscot.net/?viewid=12190
You may be aware that John Watt – who has for many years been Director of Strengthening Communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – is to retire this month. John was one of the originators – and the long term custodian – of the enlightened policy within HIE which places the empowerment of local people at the heart of economic development. Many readers will remember that this was established at a time when Scottish Enterprise regarded communities as irrelevant to enterprise. John can take satisfaction that HIE’s work with ‘Strengthening Communities’ – particularly land acquisition and community energy – are now shaping national Scottish Government policy.
When asked to describe the kind of Scotland I would like to live in – high on my wish list is land reform. Land would be owned by the nation – for the use of those who live on it – ‘from the low tide of the sea to the highest mountain tops’. This last is the title which highland historian Jim Hunter has given to his work on the 20 year history of community buy outs. Hunter argues for the acceleration of this programme. I certainly agree that the SNP has yet to show any radical intent with regard to who owns Scotland. See,
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: The Ecology Centre, Scottish Refugee Council, Glasgow Bike Station, Playbusters, Larkhall & District Volunteer Group, PSS Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland, Consumeer Focus Scotland
EVENTS: Hidden Gems of Garnethill, 22 Apr; A Spoonful of Vintage, 22 Apr; Getting to Grips with Social Accounting & Audit and Social Capital, 27 Apr; Business Development Workshops, 31 May;
TENDERS: Nursery Services, Provision of Refectory & Cleaning Services in Inverness, Refurbishment Works for Sense Scotland and Supply of Ergonomic Furniture. For more see http://readyforbusiness.org/index.php.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Two important dates for your diary; 14th June – the 6th ‘Fit for Purpose: SE and Health’; and 21st June – the 2nd SE and Sport Conferences. Both events are to be held in Glasgow: Fit for Purpose at the Teacher’s Building in St Enoch’s Sq; and SE and Sport in the Trades Hall in Glassford St. Both conferences provide an opportunity for social enterprises not only to connect with each other but also to raise awareness amongst public sector delegates on the contribution SEs can make within their local communities. To book your place at the events, see http://www.se-networks.net/fitforpurpose12form.php or http://www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=660 For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=238
Social Enterprise Scotland, this week, announced the appointment of Fraser Kelly as their new CEO, following a recruitment and interview process. Fraser has been acting on an interim basis in recent months so will be able to take up the post with immediate effect. Congratulations to Fraser. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12185
New additions to the SE Code of Practice include Clydesdale Community Initiatives; Glasgow Wood Recycling; and My Adventure. Remember – to sign up as a ‘subscriber’, you require two ‘sponsors’.
To register as a ‘subscriber’, go to www.se-code.net
Less than two weeks till we all vote again – in the local government elections; if you’re a bit vague about the format – check here, http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/3_may/scottish_local_elections.aspx . Although my own general outlook has been more formed by Edinburgh – I recognise the primacy of Glasgow in defining the Scottish psyche; whether Labour or the SNP take Glasgow Council will indicate the national drift. It’s difficult for commentators to get a handle on the many contradictions which define big-hearted Glasgow. Gerry Hassan has a refreshing lack of deference towards the power elite. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12189
Across the UK, around 400 village shops and rural pubs close each year. To help the growing number of communities taking the opportunity to set up community-owned and run enterprises, the Village SOS project is running a second series of Roadshows over the next few weeks. The only Scottish event takes place in Dunfermline on Thursday 26th April 2012 at the Carnegie Conference Centre. DTA Scotland is jointly organising the event – it’s FREE to attend. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12186
This week’s bulletin profiles a theatre company in Glasgow that operates as a social enterprise. Attune Theatre, which has been supported by Firstport, focuses on making plays that are of educational value – and not necessarily taking place in a theatre. Set up in 2011, Attune’s current initiatives include: the Script Reading Service – giving writers a chance to test their scripts with live audiences; and Close and Faraway – a new production coming to The Space in Glasgow shortly. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=12187
Julian Baggini’s book ‘the Ego Trick’ is a helpful exploration of the perplexing subject of the ‘Self’.
"Perhaps the simplest analogy is with a cloud. From a distance it looks like an object with fairly clear edges, but the closer you get to it, the more indistinct it becomes. Get really close and you can see it’s just a collection of water droplets. Does that mean clouds don’t exist? Of course not. It just means that they are not chunks of cotton wool. The self is like a cloud that not only looks like a single object from the outside, but feels like one from the inside too. Knowing the truth doesn’t change the way it either looks or feels, and nor does it conjure it out of existence. It simply makes us recognise that at root each of us is an ever-changing flux, not a never-changing core. The solidity of self is an illusion; the self itself is not. The Ego Trick is not to persuade us that we exist when we do not, but to make us believe we are more substantial and enduring that we really are. There maybe an illusion as to what we really are, but not that we really are."
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures