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29 Aug 2014

            In 1989 I visited the USA on a kind of paid study visit – 5 states in 5 weeks.  One of the housing ‘projects’ which hosted me was in Ferguson – the suburb of St Louis where trouble flared last week – following the police shooting of an unarmed black youth.  The most vivid and enduring memory I have of those 5 weeks – is the extent of the demoralisation of the black poor; I recorded my thoughts: “This is not like poverty in Scotland – it is of a different order; maybe it is our health service/social security; or the influence of Rabbie Burns and the Clydeside socialists – that has enabled Scotland’s poor to retain some dignity and defiance.  The poorest African Americans I meet here seem defeated in a way I’ve never seen before (slavery?).  If you’ve no money – you’re nothing!  If you get ill – you die.  The poor are despised.  The human spirit is crushed.”  I developed a loathing for the hypocrisy of ‘the American Dream’ – for the barbarism of neoliberal politics.

            Thatcher, and then New Labour, brought free market economics to the UK.  The ensuing 25 years has seen dysfunctional levels of inequality and economic crisis; a growing contempt for public services and the constant advance of privatisation.  England, particularly the south east, seems locked into this voracious and unsustainable version of capitalism.  For whatever reason we Scots seem to prefer a gentler social order – which tries to include everyone – where market imperatives will be put to the service of the common good.  Given the chance – I wonder if we Scots would dare to ‘go for it’ on our own?  We’ll soon find out.      

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The National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA) is not much known in Scotland – but it is worthy of our...Read more


The SENs is the name Senscot gives to our work with Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) - both thematic and geographical. SENs provide members with opportunities for peer support, collective action and market development. The vision is of a growing community of 500 frontline social enterprises across Scotland - connected and energised through a network of Networks.


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The SENs: Friday 29th August 2014

Bookings are now open for this year’s SE Conference and Ceilidh - our 10th - at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on 13th/14th November. To request a booking form, email ceilidh@senscot.net. Initially, we are limiting places to 6 per SEN and 2 per organisation. We’re keen to ensure that each SEN can have a few of their members along. We’re working on the draft programme - should be available within the next couple of weeks. The programme will include old favourites such as the Big Questions and the Dragons’ Den - but will also be an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by SENs and their members over the last 10 years and to look at challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. With the Referendum being done and dusted, it will also be a chance to consider the impact of its outcome on social enterprise in Scotland. Most importantly, however, is the chance for folk to connect up again for the craic.

This week, Edinburgh SEN, launched their ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ marketing campaign. The campaign is a call to action to the general public to think about how they shop around the city and consider purchasing from over 150 social enterprises that are trading in the city are trading in Edinburgh, from cafes and retail, to creative industries and leisure generating...Read more
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Senscot works closely with these social enterprise intermediaries: The development work of Senscot is also supported by the Scottish Government.

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