Dear members and friends,
Last night, I watched a DVD of ‘The Leopard’ from the novel by Guiseppe de Lampedusa – a great film of a great book; it was Visconti’s full Italian language version and it blew me away. I considered Burt Lancaster an odd choice to play Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina – a Sicilian aristocrat – but he is superb – real gravitas. The film is set in the 1860s – Garibaldi’s volunteer Red Shirts have embarked on their project to unify Italy. The Prince senses the upheaval ahead – brokers an advantageous marriage between his nephew Tancredi (Alain Delon) and the beautiful Angelica (Claudia Cardinale) – daughter of the local moneybags. The story juxtaposes the old and the new – a haunting elegy of a vanishing way of life.
Visconti ends the film with the full splendour of a formal ball – a stunning sequence that lasts 45 minutes. Don Fabrizio wanders from room to room – the sad man at the party – coming to accept that the old certainties have gone – replaced by nothing substantial he can hold on to. After the ball, as dawn breaks, he walks home alone through the crumbling backstreets of Palermo. He is possessed of a deep melancholy – a consciousness of his own ageing and decline. This is what stays with me – Lancaster’s masterly portrayal of a proud and powerful man – facing his own mortality. I found it chokingly sad – probably watch it again tonight.
In the normal economy, ‘capital hires labour’. One of the attractions of the social enterprise sector is that we work for a different world where ‘labour hires capital’. Last November, JP Morgan and the Rockerfeller Foundation produced a report on what they call ‘Impact Investing’- ‘investments intended to create positive social and environmental impact beyond financial return’. The report calls this an ’emerging asset class’ – with an estimated profit opportunity measured in hundreds of billions over the next decade. This of course refers to private sector activity – a subset of capitalism. The then head of research at JP Morgan, Nick O’Donohoe, has been headhunted as CEO of Big Society Capital (BSC). He and his chair, Ronald Cohen have sold the UK Govt their vision of a ‘new asset class’ – they envisage a dividend paying social investment sector attracting funds from foundations and financial institutions. Is this really where we want to go – back to ‘capital hires labour’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11300
Cohen and O’Donohoe’s model is highly dependent on the success of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) – based on the UK Govt’s appetite fro payment by results. They want BSC to invest £250m to kickstart SIBs – but this is a totally unproven mechanism – highly complicated; we can only begin to guess at the transaction costs – lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. One sees parallels with the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which did not deliver good value for tax payers. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11390
‘Is social enterprise changing the world – or being changed by it?’ – is the theme of the Senscot Seminar being held on 30th Sept. Booking has now opened at a cost of £20 per person and the webpage has some relevant documents. Demand has been high, so we’ll be operating on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. See booking details, http://www.senscot.net/seminar.php
Scottish Govt’s Third Sector Division (TSD) has a new leader – Yvonne Strachan – who will be out and about over the coming months introducing herself. The Division now has around 20 staff, split into 4 teams and has produced an excellent ‘Organogram’, showing who now does what. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11389
This bulletin has not had much to say about the riots – didn’t feel I had much to add to the considerable tripe circulating in our media. This is the line taken by Paul Sims in the New Humanist who refreshingly admits that he doesn’t know why they happened. He points out that ‘moral decline caused by the liberal intelligentsia’ has been trotted out for centuries as the cause of civil disorder. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11391
You may want to be aware of the changes underway at Comic Relief – don’t know if it has new leadership but the organisation seems to be taking a radical look at itself. Also some application deadlines looming. 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: RAMH Lifeskills; Edinburgh Young Carers Project; Furniture Plus; Shakti Women’s Aid; Turning Point; St Pauls & St Georges Church; EUSA – Edinburgh University Students Association
EVENTS: My Life in Books, 23 Aug; Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 30 Aug; Tools, Tips & Techniques for Involvement, 31 Aug; Oral Histories Part 2, 8 Sep; Living Classrooms, 14 Sep
TENDERS: 2 separate tenders for Supply and Fit of floor coverings; Consultancy around the sports sector in Glasgow; Development of interactive and downloadable resources for use by nurses, midwifes and AHPs in NHSS;
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week, Senscot met with the Board of Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) to address issues of concern with regard to the engagement of social enterprise networks (SENs) with their local Interfaces. It was an opportunity, for both parties, to explore how we (and Third Sector Interfaces) can work better together and, in particular parts of the country, ensure more productive working relationships. We have agreed a number of measures with VAS and Scottish Govt. These will set out in a joint letter within the next week or two. For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=204
Some event next month: 4th/5th Sept – DTA Scotland’s annual Conference at Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. Keynote speakers include Jackie Killeen (Big Lottery), Peter Holbrook (Social Enterprise Coalition), and David Gunn (Climate Challenge Fund). https://senscot.net/?viewid=11380 On 7th Sept, CEiS is hosting its annual Scottish Social Enterprise Conference at the Radisson in Glasgow. Amongst agenda items will be social enterprise and Third Sector Interfaces. Places still available, see, http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=11240 ; And on 22nd Sept, Social Firms Scotland will be holding a Social Firm Success Stories event at The Scotsman in Edinburgh. It’s free. See https://senscot.net/?viewid=11379
The 9th Homeless World Cup kicks off this weekend. 64 National football Teams comprising homeless and socially marginalised players from across the world will be competing this year in Paris. Since the first tournament in 2003 in Graz in Austria, over 100,000 people have participated with 70% stating that it had changed their life for the better and more than 70 grass roots football programmes have been triggered worldwide. Vive L’Ecosse! See, http://www.homelessworldcup.org/
This week’s bulletin profiles a unique social enterprise, based in Keith in Moray, that looks to promote and extend the sharing of traditional skills and techniques across the generations, encouraging new concepts. Keith Kilt and Textile Centre provides a range of workshops and courses, giving participants the opportunity to broaden skills in traditional hand sewn kiltmaking, highland dance wear, basic and progressive Sewing and Pattern Skills as well as Bag Making. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11392
From a review of The Leopard by Jonathan Jones in the Guardian.
"The Prince of Salina rejects the idea that feudal class structures explain what’s wrong with Sicily – there has been feudalism everywhere – Sicily is more perturbing that that. The Prince claims that Sicilians have a love affair with death; that a desire for the grave obsesses the island’s culture and will seep out to poison the new Italy. Lampedusa’s Sicily is a place where the optimistic, progressive, rational forces of history as viewed in the 19th century – the march of liberal democracy and of socialism alike – get lost in baroque back streets at midnight. As a myth, as a fiction of history, The Leopard will continue to ensnare minds, and not only in Italy. Lampedusa’s despair is not so different from that of today’s world, with its shrunken political expectations. We are all Sicilians now". See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11382
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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