Senscot Bulletin: 25.07.08

Dear members and friends,


 When I was 20, I had a major fall out with my dad – so I left home – found a ‘garret’ near Edinburgh Uni – bought a typewriter – sat down to write my angst ridden novel.  I still cringe when I recall how ‘up myself’ I was.  The desire to write has always hovered around my life – but I was never sure whether I wanted to be the Philip Marlowe or Raymond Chandler – the hero or the writer.
 Being a writer seemed so romantic – Hemingway and Fitzgerald and all that gang in Paris between the wars – to write by day and then get pissed every evening with fellow writers and artists – pursuing the meaning of life in famed cafés of Paris.  La vie boheme.  But the record shows my life followed the ‘Action Man’ route – so many campaigns over the years – victories and defeats – but part of me, even in the heat of battle, was always taking notes – without knowing why.
 I’m older now and the allure of Philip Marlowe`s ‘mean streets’ has been replaced by gardening – but it stays with me like an itch – the urge to put down the word. Sometimes my unconscious gives me hints that it is gestating a magnum opus.  Maybe in a couple of years when I’m 70 – I’ll sit down again to write my novel.  I know fine I’m too old – but it certainly won’t be any worse then my first attempt 50 years ago.
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Wow! The citizens of Glasgow East have delivered a dramatic message. The remnants of Scottish Labour -who claimed that May’s SNP election victory was a fluke – must surely accept now that Scottish Politics is on the move – and this is exciting. The question becomes whether their party has the capacity to renew itself – or whether it’s a spent force. After so long in power, Scottish Labour has become a centralist regime, to which democracy is an alien concept. This translates into a mistrust and disrespect for citizens organising in grassroots communities. The people have reacted
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Scotland’s strategy and infrastructure for the support and development of social enterprise will be fully operational by the end of this year – and it’s one we can all be proud of. A dedicated team of civil servants – over several years (Roddy MacDonald started in 2004) – got out amongst us – got to understand the issues – and shaped a coherent strategy which can enable Scotland to lead this field again. Unfortunately, in the field of community empowerment, things are not so good. The Scottish Labour Party’s mistrust of communities, did profound damage to our community sector – community development professionals went quietly – to work for the state – Scottish Government community empowerment policy is two years behind the current English White Paper (see link) – and most worryingly – the new SNP administration has not brought forth a champion   http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7392
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In six weeks time (2nd -5th Sept) Scotland will host the inaugural Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh. The event, staged by CEiS, will see over 400 delegates from across the globe converge for a programme of events that culminate with a series of visits to social enterprises across Scotland including the Isle of Mull and Shetland. So far, over 80% of attendees come from frontline social enterprises including keynote speaker Robert L.E Egger from the renowned DC Central Kitchens in Washington DC. See his comments on the Forum http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7390  . There are still around 20 places available to Scottish delegates so if you don’t want to miss out, here’s a link to more info`, booking form and programme      http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7389
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In a piece in Tuesday’s Herald Society, Zoe Van Zwanenberg, CEO of the Scottish Leadership Foundation, argues in favour of ‘‘constructive dissent’’, that in the delivery of Scotland’s public services we need to find ways to encourage the maverick – to ‘allow’ dissent.  https://senscot.net/?viewid=7391
We also hear that the Carnegie UK Trust is researching the connection between dissent and civil society. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7402  You may also recall a couple of weeks back, we mentioned the National Coalition for Independent Action’s website – their strapline is ‘‘Dissent protects Democracy’’ http://www.independentaction.net/
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Because co-operatives don’t have an automatic asset lock (i.e. members can divvy up the spoils if they so wish) their movement has tended to plough a different furrow from the social enterprise sector.  With the generous patronage of the previous Labour administration – Co operative Development Scotland was established in 2005 as a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise – including a £50/60k CEO post – currently vacant.  Personally, I include mutually organised businesses as part of the same movement of alternative economics which is gathering momentum – lets hope the new CEO when appointed shares this view – makes stronger links   http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7393
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NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=86&W21SUBID=0. This week: 
JOBS: incl. posts with: Abertay University, Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, Cornerstone Community Care,  Business Community Connections, The Scottish Government
EVENTS: Football and Regeneration – A place for community football?, 20 Aug, Kilmarnock; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow, Master Composter Training, Sep, Edinburgh; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus;
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NETWORKS 1st: Edinburgh SEN have received a massive boost in the form of sponsorship from Edinburgh Council for a stand at the Social Enterprise World Forum in September. CEiS have put together a fantastic 4 day programme, bringing people from across the globe. The programme includes a tour of Edinburgh SEN members on the first day.  For those who just can’t make it, Senscot will be hosting a much smaller Fringe Forum on Thursday 4th September. For more, https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=41
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Senscot supports the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and we get their Radical Economics journal – where I read about a new book, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins.  The idea behind the Transition movement is simple.  ‘‘The age of cheap oil is drawing to a close – but that inherent within that is the potential for an extraordinary economic, social and cultural renaissance’’.  We have to shift our focus more towards the rebuilding of local economies and being realistic about energy constraints.  This book is not doom and gloom – it’s solution focussed.  http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7396
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When they heard that the petrol pump in their village was to close – the villagers of Applecross in Wester Ross decided to set up a community company to operate it. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7394  Meanwhile in Aberdeenshire, when the community heard that their pub, the Midmar Inn, was to close they got organised and successfully applied to Scottish Government for the right to buy. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7395  Every week Senscot hears of instances of this spontaneous citizen action – which can only be good for our Scottish civil society.
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This week’s bulletin profiles a Fairtrade catering company located in Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Fayre and Square operates a café in the town itself but also runs an outside catering service, Catering Trailers, for businesses or for outdoor events. Events include sporting events, summer camps, exhibitions as well as for hen/stag parties. As well as using worldwide producers of Fairtrade products, Fayre and Square also focuses on a wide range of local producers. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7398
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I’m really enjoying reading the old interviews from the Paris Review with some of our greatest writers.  Here’s the end of Hemingway’s 1958 offering.


“From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.  This is why you write and for no other reason that you know of.  But what about all the reasons that no one knows?”


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


Best wishes,
Laurence


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