VitalSpark: Coalition Blog

Posted: 22 April 2010, in Blog

Schadenfreude. It is a tad amusing to witness, that despite intense preparation, spin and media management, a volcano can knock the first ever Party Leader TV debate off the front pages. “Ash Wednesday” does put our place on this planet in some degree of perspective.

So, any earth shattering or cataclysmic events in the world of social enterprise recently or will these happen after May 6th? Even if they occur who apart from those directly affected will notice?

To up our media profile, I think we should endeavour to get social enterprises and the various messages about social entrepreneurship on the telly. Anyone want to pitch a (cheap) informative, affirmative and entertaining travelogue around the Scottish scene to a programme commissioner they know? God knows, STV could do with something beyond soaps, old kailyard fitba’ stuff and prize competitions. Having lost the tender for news services to press rivals, they might be open to resurrecting the tradition of great social commentary.

Who would front it and what would they say and show to the viewer? I would not be democratic about this in the sense that every region, legal model, sub sector or leading figure had to be included. I’d insist on the successful and ambitious. The innovators, the wannabees, the paradigm shifters and the big scale entrepreneurs need to be front and centre on the show. I’d keep the insignificant and hobbyists out of sight.

My starting point would be to get a pair of folk to inform, educate and entertain. I’d want a few laughs.

Think of social entrepreneurs and advocates like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – they agitate and convince and have fun. You get one chance to make a good first impression. So, (and apologies to those I’m about to offend here), for the presenters we don’t need callow youth or old cynics and curmudgeons. We don’t want the morbidly obese or old expulsions of intestinal gas in suits. I realise I’ve just excluded myself.

We need great communicators who can talk to urban and rural Scotland. I’d make it a contractual obligation that the presenters have to have an epiphany on a regular basis. I’d also insist that social entrepreneurs are not described in saintly or heroic terms but merely as good entrepreneurs motivated and driven to get things done for the better of themselves (self interest is good) and their communities (altruism is good too). I’d hold a competition between SSEC members to name the show. My suggestion is “Somebody ought to do something about that”.

In short, I’d like to see people discussing, criticising and congratulating social entrepreneurs. Apart from nature shows, there is never anything to watch on telly anyway.