Dear members and friends,
We all know people passionately committed to a cause – something bigger than themselves, serving the common good; free spirits, who won’t let money or career deflect them from their path. Of course this doesn’t sit well with the demands of family life – what Cyril Connolly called ‘the sombre presence of the pram in the hall’. Eventually a choice has to be made – I recall conversations over the years with ‘comrades in arms’ as they quit the field: “I’ve met a partner – we want a family”; priorities change – a farewell to arms.
This progression of commitment, from an idealised cause to an actual person, is the big one. “For one human being to love another” Rilke wrote, “that is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks – the ultimate – the last test and proof – the work for which all else is mere preparation”. I’ve known for a long time that I’m not going to crack this one; it’s fortunate that I enjoy solitude.
Throughout history there have been those who baulk at the ‘ultimate test and proof’; whether from fear or honest self-knowledge they avoid the family thing. Instead of children – some of these loners adopt causes; the passion they bring to their work is like a substitute family. These are some of the artists, scientists, social reformers, to be found at the dangerous edge of things – where brave stuff is happening. Compared to a family, a cause is the second prize; but it can be a good second prize.
Christmas is coming; we still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage. See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
Not saying I’ve read the white paper (670 pages) – but early reactions suggest it is a serious publication – which continues to advance the plausibility of independence. The launch was surprisingly low key – but I feel a rising excitement, that what was relatively unthinkable – now moves within our reach; the freedom to determine for ourselves the kind of society we want to create. Alan Massie, a blogger for the Spectator, is the commentator we’ve linked to. He concludes “the white paper asks us to ask ourselves what kind of country we want to live in – and that, whatever the answer we choose, is a question well worth asking”.
A sorry episode for the great Celtic football club; not this week’s exit from Europe (which was hardly unexpected) but the decision at the club’s recent AGM, to deny the living wage (£7.65 per hour) to 180 employees. As part of its ‘legend’- Celtic enjoys how it was created as a social enterprise – to assist starving immigrants in the slums of Glasgow’s east end. This recent decision speaks of an institution which has lost touch with its founding principles; will greed for money trash a proud legacy of solidarity with the disadvantaged? Observer columnist Kevin McKenna lets rip at the club he loves.
My work no longer involves direct contact with people who are struggling to cope – but I try to stay informed. David Donnison is a reliable commentator on social policy – and how it’s working. Here he writes about ‘the cruel and desperate life of Scotland’s poor’; explodes some middle class myths about poverty.
A well kent face in Scotland’s SE community is moving on to new challenges. After 10 years as the driving force behind KibbleWorks, Jim Mullan is to take charge of the UK wide, Big Issue Group; one of SEs iconic brands – but in need of refreshing. Good luck, Jim – don’t become a stranger to the Scottish scene.
“It is difficult to know where to begin, but essentially we are seeing some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our society being ‘re-branded’ as an investment opportunity for ‘high-net individuals’ and ‘venture capitalists’ with the services required to help these people being re-defined as a marketplace where canny investors can make a tidy profit out of other people’s misery. This does not make sense to me at all, no matter how much I think about it, especially when it is carried out under the banner o ‘social justice’.” This quote was spotted by Senscot reader Osbert Lancaster – in the blog of Stephen Crossley – whose doctorate thesis is looking at the English Troubled Families programme.
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: Govanhills Bath Community Trust, Borders Environmental Education Services (BEES), Evolution Skate Park Ltd, Remake Scotland,
EVENTS: iCAN December, 2 Dec; Letting Go: Breathing New Life into Organisations, 2 Dec; Business Planning, 3 Dec; Tackling Fuel Poverty in a Future Scotland, 3 Dec; Portobello Market Christmas, 7 Dec;
TENDERS: Trade Food Waste Collection and Processing – Midlothian Council, Provision of residential alcohol/drug detoxification and/or rehabilitation – NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Business Gateway Workshop: Reaching More Customers – Craft Business Development Workshop – Argyll and Bute Council. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=892
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Senscot is part of the ReadyforBusiness (RfB) Consortium that has, since 2011, been delivering the Scottish Govt’s ‘Developing Markets Programme’. The other members of the Consortium include: CEiS; Social Firms Scotland; KPMG; MacRoberts; Social Value Lab; and Sustainable Procurement Ltd. The new contract for this work has recently been out to tender and we are pleased to hear that the RfB Consortium has been the successful bidder. The new contract will run from April 2014 and will continue the Consortium’s work to embed Public Social Partnerships (PSP), Community Benefit Clauses (CBC) and the use of Social Value throughout public sector commissioning and procurement in Scotland. For more info on the programme, see www.readyforbusiness.org
For more on The SENs, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=324
We’ve now completed the report on this month’s SE Conference and Ceilidh 2013. Once again, we’d like to thank all those who attended, contributed, sponsored and supported the event in general. We’ll let the dust settle for a bit before planning the 2014 event – our 10th – but will be taking on board all feedback. See full report, http://www.senscot.net/docs/Ceilidh2013Report.pdf
Congratulations to the Link Group and Glasgow Credit Union on their success at this week’s UK Social Enterprise Awards in London. The Link Group, on a roll at the moment, picked up the ‘Overall SE of the Year’ – while Glasgow Credit Union strolled off with the ‘Best Consumer Facing SE’. Again, congratulations to both. See other winners etc, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16358
Last month, our piece on whether or not our SE community is now mature and confident enough to openly discuss our mistakes and failures clearly struck a chord. We received a number of responses and said that we were minded to host an event/seminar on this topic – but it’ll be in the new year now. The topic itself, however, still seems to on people’s minds. This week, the Guardian carries a piece from Dan Morrison – talking about the five stages of grief following a failed social enterprise, and how to recover your motivation and start again. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16355
This week’s bulletin profiles a unique energy advice service that is part of Cunningham Housing Associations wider action activities. Citrus Energy operates as a social enterprise, working across Ayrshire, which aims to assist those who need advice on reducing their energy costs, whether that is for their home energy or their business energy costs. Their service is free to use. Citrus Energy currently works with over 14 energy suppliers – finding the best prices on commercial market with complete impartiality. Any surplus generated is re-distributed into local communities to help reduce fuel poverty issues and create sustainable employment. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=16357 .
The Italian media have apparently fallen big time for Pope Francis; the danger is that unrealistic expectations will emerge. Here are a couple of quotes from his first ‘apostolic exhortation’ to the Catholic Church.
“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures”… and then later on…“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule”.
That’s all for this week.