VitalSpark: Coalition Blog

Posted: 05 October 2010, in Blog

Slàinte mhòr

Good News; Hitler had African and Jewish ancestors – I’d now make it compulsory for politicians operating as MSPs, MPs and MEPs to have their DNA profiled as a part of the public record. Any comments on immigration and asylum policy etc could then be linked to their own “ethnicity” or background. For example, Michael Portillo’s dad was a republican supporting asylum seeker fleeing The Spanish Civil War.

Dodgy News; US academics have published research demonstrating that greedy people and do gooder types get on folk’s wicks. Social entrepreneurs should realise this when designing their marketing. Do you market your mission or your products and services – trust me the marketing needs to be right or you confuse your customers with the danger that you are just seen as a charity.

Bad News; The slow death of the traditional British pub continues. In addition booze consumption is rocketing through increased sales in supermarkets and shops. We are becoming a nation that drinks to excess at home. This has devastating consequences for our community social capital.

Many clubs and bars have been operated in the past by a plethora of community based organisations. The obvious ones are working men’s clubs, miners welfares, sports clubs and last of all Goths. Unfortunately, despite their philosophical/philanthropic roots, many of them became dire drinking dens and deserved to go to the wall.

I now think that social entrepreneurs should seek to modernise and reintroduce the Gothenburg model and principles by bringing it into the 21st Century – see

First off, forget the male dominated, temperance and industrial stuff – and the term “Goth” – the modern association with misunderstood teenagers and black make up is too distracting. I propose the term “The Quaichs”.

Instead focus on the trust models, the educational classes, the dividend payments to members, the community dividends and then use the pub’s premises to deliver retail, post office, health, local government and financial services  – and anything else that is useful, makes money and keeps communities alive – where is your imagination? Check out the Plunkett Foundation

How about setting up social enterprise pubs that are independently managed and not tied to brewery chains. We should develop social enterprise food businesses and micro breweries to take care of the dining and the beer. The pubs should get charitable tax breaks if they are used to provide meeting rooms, are child friendly and don’t serve drunks. (I’d ban fruit machines!).

Make the business mobile so that it serves local fairs, gala days and fetes and any other commercial catering work it can win. Some might become social firms.

C’mon lets reinvent the British pub as social enterprises and do us all a favour!