Dear members and friends,
Folk I talk with fall loosely into two camps – those who believe that the neoliberal world order will regain its poise – that ‘business as usual’ will return – and those, like myself, who believe that we are experiencing something epochal – that the present economic system is a busted flush. The journalist Charles Moore – Eton and Cambridge – former editor of both the Spectator and Telegraph – has caused a stushie; he suggests in a recent article that ‘the Left may be right’ – that the ‘free market’ in fact only accords freedom to a super rich elite – while it condemns the rest of us to increasingly insecure lives. Moore is one of a number on the Right just now who appear to be trying to save Capitalism from itself. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11404
Along with trashing banks, the systemic corruption of public life – our politics, police, media etc – has skunnered folk towards free market ideology; but like the undead – even as it decomposes, neoliberalism stumbles on – habitually. Bankers are back to the bonus trough – 2000 lawyers took £1m each from City firms last year… and yet the democratic left lacks the conviction to protest – to say that all this is wrong; it’s as though we’ve stopped believing there’s another way. Social Democrats need to reconnect with our moral convictions – our belief that ordinary people can act collectively to challenge the powerful. The organisation, Compass, is circulating a petition calling for a ‘people’s jury’ – to keep a eye on the ‘feral elite’ who run everything. I’ve signed up, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11405
The Cabinet office has issued a consultation document on new policy priorities for the BIG Lottery Fund; these will include for the first time ‘initiatives which strengthen the social investment market’. But this is exactly the mission of Big Society Capital – and I suspect that this new Lottery priority is intended to ease the passage of funds from BIG to BSC; just as the private limited company Social Finance Ltd got £11.5m from BIG to develop impact bonds. BSC – run by City stalwarts Ronald Cohen and Nick O’Donohoe – aims to grow our sector to deliver public contracts – becoming a sustainable, dividend yielding, ‘asset class’. My fear is that their interpretation of ‘social investment’ will be much more relaxed about private profit than the third sector allows – changing social enterprise into a subset of the private sector. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11408
Geof Cox has been ‘doing’ social enterprise for 30 years and, like myself, he believes that ours should be an ‘open source, help each other’ community. He has an unusually inclusive understanding of our sector – embracing perhaps 250,000 networked enterprises and initiatives – ‘an alternative way of organising human affairs’ – ”this means shifting focus from the relatively small number of social enterprises that happen to fit an official definition, or can be used to forward a government agenda, towards the much larger movement of alternative lifestyle networks, working not to redeliver public services but in more challenging and more internationally relevant areas like the environment, local food, fair trade and the open source movement”. On balance, I believe the social enterprise definition is unavoidable (because of private sector encroachment) – but Geof’s vision is undoubtedly attractive. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11415
If you’d like to attend Senscot’s seminar on how social enterprise is evolving in the UK and Scotland – you’ll need to hurry – it’s nearly full. See, https://senscot.net/seminar.php
On Radio 4 this morning, Ronald Cohen and Polly Toynbee discussed Social Impact Bonds. Like myself, Toynbee thinks it’s complete mince – an elaborate con. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11420
The Govt backed boom in wind farms has the potential to empower rural communities – so long as they get a stake in the development. A recent deal between Glasgow energy firm EML group and the village of Thornhill in Stirlingshire creates an interesting precedent. For supporting the development of 4 x 500 KW turbines, the community trust will receive an estimated £150k per annum. EML says it will offer its community partners access to 100% loan finance. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11409
When the TV cameras visited the neighbourhood’s which had experienced rioting – they couldn’t find anyone, elected or otherwise, to speak for the community. Journalist – Simon Jenkins says that this is because the UK is the most centralised state in Europe – with a missing layer of democracy (and leadership) at community level. Senior police or fire fighters or head teachers don’t represent communities – they are paid to provide services. Local people want to have their own structure, voice and leaders. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11414
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: Shakti Women’s Aid; RAMH Lifeskills ; Turning Point; St Pauls & St Georges Church; EUSA – Edinburgh University Students Association; Furniture Plus; Shelter Scotland; Lorn and Oban Reuse Initiative; Penumbra
EVENTS: Re-Union and The Helix Project 30th Aug; Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 30 Aug; Tools, Tips & Techniques for Involvement, 31 Aug; CEiS Annual Conference; Oral Histories Part 2, 8 Sep; Living Classrooms, 14 Sep
TENDERS: TENDERS: Better Broadband for Whitsome, Scoping of education and training for bereavement care, Provision of Building Related Works within VisitScotland / Historic Scotland Property Estate, Environmental improvement works.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Dundee SEN (DSEN) this week accepted a cheque from Hillcrest Housing Association to support their work in developing enterprises throughout Dundee. See, http://senscot.org/docs/DSENHillcrest.doc .This is a great boost for DSEN and is particularly timely as they advertise for a new part-time Development Officer. See job ad, http://senscot.org/docs/DSENAdvert.doc. This would take the number of SENs having access to a staffing resource to 8 as Moray SEN also announced the appointment their own Development Manager. Kim Sui and Mark McClelland-Jones will be job sharing and taking up post on 1st October. The other SENs with a bespoke staff resource include Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders. For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=205
Firstport is going through another round of Level 2 Awards (up to £20k) and is on the look-out for social entrepreneurs whose ventures are ready to step up a gear. Deadline for applications and business plans – Monday 5th Sept 2011. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11410
An old Senscot friend, John Hancox, updates us about the Children’s Orchard in Glasgow which has its new season list of Scottish and Heritage fruit trees now available with special offers for Community and School Orchards. See, http://senscot.org/docs/schoolorchardoffer.pdf
This week’s bulletin profiles Canal SEN and prospective DTA Scotland member, Lambshill Stables, based in North Glasgow. Lambshill operates as a community hub and social enterprise, offering a range of community-based recreational activities and educational resources for people of all ages within their community. Their social enterprise activity aims to provide employment and training in a range of landscaping services, and to re-invest its income in more jobs for the local community. See,
As part of the Edinburgh Book Festival, I attended a celebration of the centenary of the birth of the Polish/American poet Czeslaw Milosz whom I admire greatly. Here he celebrates books.
And Yet the Books… ”And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings, that appeared once, still wet as shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn, and, touched, coddled, began to live in spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up, tribes on the march, planets in motion. ‘We are,’ they said, even as their pages were being torn out, or a buzzing flame licked away their letters. So much more durable than we are, whose frail warmth cools down with memory, disperses, perishes. I imagine the earth when I am no more: nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant, women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley. Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born, derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.”
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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