A committee made up o MSPs
An American chiel named Carusone
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
A committee made up o MSPs
An American chiel named Carusone
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
By now you probably heard of the environmental carnage on Tullos Hill. It seems likely deer have been killed – despite the public’s wishes, the improbability of trees growing, and the bad science behind the cull. Gorse removal seems to have happened until the last week in March – the cost to insect life, birds and mammals is incalculable.
On my first visit the day after the bulldozers (or whatever trucks were used) cleared a vast swathe of the hill; I was shocked at the quantity of wildflowers, particularly foxgloves which had been ripped apart or thrown aside. I saw several caterpillars dead and dying. I saw a heck of a lot of domestic and industrial debris – and even more rock.
There seemed to be new patches of gorse missing on every visit I made, despite laws meant to protect our dwindling bird population.
Two men with shotguns were seen in the St Fittick’s area on foot on the night of the 31st March, and one of the hill’s keen observers saw a silver Range Rover several times driving to areas where there were deer.
Sadly, with the help of an acquaintance I made on the hill last week, I was shown this skeleton and nearby fresh deer fur of what would have been a young deer. It reminded me how comparatively small these gentle creatures are.
Was it killed by hungry foxes? Not impossible.
The tree scheme supporters will say that ‘deer have no natural predators’ – an environmentalist will tell you that foxes are known to take the young or infirm (the roe deer usually live 6 or 7 years maximum).
I just hope against hope that this fairly fresh skeleton was not from a deer which had been wounded. This happens all the time. Deer are shot, and depending on where they’ve taken the hit, they can run away to slowly, painfully, bleed out and die, trauma and shock making the suffering worse. Deer are by no means always quickly destroyed.
Shooting, we are told, is far more preferable than tranquilising and moving them, because up to 50% might die. (I however imagine it would be far more preferable to be put to sleep than injured and die of pain, shock and blood loss – or while wounded be eaten alive by a fox).
If indeed the law we now has says it is illegal to tranquilise and move the creatures, the law is in need of change.
It begs the question: is this law and the new laws about the number of deer an area can support creations of a pro-hunting mentality?
The answer can only be yes. I remembered that the reason for the cull was it was the cheapest way to protect the trees – at least Aileen Malone, Pete Leonard and Ian Tallboys said so. Cheaper still would have been to stop this scheme or put the trees elsewhere.
The taxpayer is picking up the tab, no one is saying it is ‘cost neutral’ any longer, and the city had to repay £43,800 for the previous failure on Tullos Hill. This state of affairs is unacceptable. There are trees on Tullos remaining from the pathetic first planting. However, the saplings which are there are totally neglected.
Plenty of tree guards are totally intact. I saw an intact tree guard, and carefully rolled it open – the tree inside was choked by weeds. I left it as I found it. No deer was responsible for this and the many similar failures. Just human negligence
I note that the more robust tubes were used at the St Fittick’s site – this undoubtedly because anyone with common sense could tell the salt spray and the powerful winds from the North Sea would stop any trees from growing (could this be why there isn’t already a forest on St Fitticks?).
Virtually all of the tubes at St Fitticks are still standing and are undamaged by deer. Anyone who says differently should show me where there has been any deer browsing at St Fitticks.
Mr Tallboys, the ranger, had put together a presentation which shows a picture of deer standing amid the St Fitticks tubes.
Deer do move in that area. However, there is plenty of evidence for there being vandalism – and for the city and its rangers totally neglecting to protect and care for the trees it did plant.
I looked into many of the St Fitticks tree guards, all of which were undamaged. There are quite a number of tiny oak trees which had never even made it one third of the way up the tube. There were some tubes which were completely, utterly empty of any tree.
The entire site is choked by weeds and rocky soil is again an issue (although not as bad as on Tullos). The deer simply did not, could not damage the St Fitticks trees: the evidence suggests that the killer was neglect and ignorance as well as weeds and weather.
There will probably be deer deaths on the road – about a third of the gorse they would have sheltered in on the hill is gone.
Halt the scheme, save taxpayer money, and continue to support the meadowlands scheme.
The trees did not grow before. They are not going to grow now.
Coming soon – an article on the new tree scheme / deer cull developments
With no sign of regret or compromise, let alone acknowledgement of a huge problem, Aberdeen City is literally ploughing ahead with its unpopular tree planting on the rocky soil of Tullos Hill, which sits on the North Sea. This tree planting as we now know involves a deer cull – which as documents show was deliberately withheld from the consultation. Local resident Alan Robertson gives his point of view.
Anyone who has watched the Tullos Hill deer cull debate unfold over the last eighteen months cannot help but be astonished by how this has been conducted by Officials and Councillors at Aberdeen City Council.
In the latest twist to this sorry tale, the Council have started the deliberate destruction of areas of the deer’s natural habitat by removing large quantities of gorse from the Tullos Hill area.
These are areas where the deer used to shelter and graze. Along with the gorse in these areas, the plants and grasses that the deer eat have also been cleared.
The Tullos Hill meadowland has been ruined by the Council actions and the biodiversity of plant life and creatures who depended on it destroyed.
The Council released the following statement to the Media a few days ago:
“The roe deer population on Tullos Hill is currently much higher than the land can support. There is very little variety of vegetation growing and deer suffer as a result.”
Yes, the deer will ‘suffer as a result’ of the deliberate destruction of their habitat by the Council who have removed the gorse where the deer shelter. The clearance of these areas by the Council has ensured that there ‘is very little variety of vegetation growing’. As far as overpopulation goes, I walk across Tullos Hill regularly, and I have not seen any deer there for many weeks and suspect that most of the deer have migrated to Kincorth Hill or other areas nearby because their habitat on Tullos Hill has been destroyed by the Council.
There was no mention of the Council’s intention to cull the deer when the public consultation was released and now they have resorted to destroying the deer’s habitat to eradicate the deer from the area. In addition, the Council say that the culling of the deer will still go ahead. The result of Council action is that the deer are being attacked on two fronts; first by the destruction of their habitat and then by culling.
the Council should be aware that Tullos Hill isn’t suitable for their tree planting scheme.
It is obvious to anyone who has followed the Council’s plans for Tullos Hill unfold via their Committee Reports, Media releases also and from emails I have received from Officials at the Council, that they are prepared to do and say anything to continue with their ridiculous tree planting scheme on Tullos Hill.
The Council proposal that Tullos Hill will become a commercially viable forest is unrealistic. The soil at Tullos Hill is unsuitable for tree planting let alone being capable of sustaining a large forested area.
In addition, consider this: have you ever seen a forested area on a North East Scotland coastline? There are very good reasons for this and the Council should be aware that Tullos Hill isn’t suitable for their tree planting scheme.
Aberdeen City Council is determined to go ahead with the tree planting scheme despite the obvious inherent disadvantages of the Tullos Hill environment. They have recently erected three perimeter fences to ensure that deer and rabbits are kept out of the main areas where trees will be planted. The combination of gorse removal and these wide ranging fenced off areas leaves the few remaining local deer on Tullos Hill with far less of their natural habitat available.
To proceed to cull the few remaining deer on the hill would be barbaric considering what the animals have already been put through by Aberdeen City Council in the last few months.
I urge local people to speak out against the proposed deer cull and contact their local Councillors regarding this issue.
Fowk hiv the God gien richt
The richt ti bide in a placie
Nae ti be telt yer in the wye
Nae ti be telt move yer erse
The richt ti think democracy
The richt ti nae dee the biddin
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011
Techfest rolled into town last week; one of its attractions was a free session of whale and dolphin watching from Torry Battery. Ian Hay of East Grampian Coastal Partnership led the event. By Suzanne Kelly.
Torry Battery – Saturday morning 10 September: it was a bit windy, rainy and overcast – so it was almost perfect. Well, perfect for whale and dolphin watching anyway. Expert and marine mammal enthusiast Ian Hay of the East Grampian Coastal Partnership met a group which had gathered this morning as part of Aberdeen’s Techfest. And the marine life did not disappoint.
There was a small pod of dolphins – but these decided to head north along the coast just as the talk was due to start.
Those who got there early saw an impressive display, and were able to make the dolphins out as they headed away from the harbour. Ian then delivered an amazing talk; everyone present took away new information however young or old they were.
As the dolphins headed away, Ian turned his attention to the rich, varied bird life. He pointed out the cormorants and eider ducks on a harbour jetty. He reminded us that bird watchers from all over the world come to our City and shire for the wealth of species that are found here. Some species are protected; but he mentioned that the eider ducks (from which eider down comes) were protected since the time of St Cuthbert in the 8th Century.
Some birds travel here in the winter from the north (soon the great geese flocks will appear); some come up in the spring from the south. The lighthouse in Torry is as useful to birds as it is to ships – it serves as a beacon and aids seabirds to find land. Aberdeen also has a famous Sycamore tree loved by bird watchers – any number of rare species can make their way here.
Ian then returned to his specialist subject, our marine mammals. He rightly called this harbour:
“The best place in Europe for watching whales and dolphins.”
Ian said there are locally five predominant types of mammals: Bottlenose Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, White-beaked Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins and Minke Whale.
The Bottlenose are the animals most commonly seen here; they travel in pods of upto 30 or 40; and are a coastal animal. The Harbour Porpoises are the most common species in the area – but ‘they don’t do very much’. The White-Beaked Dolphins are very special to the area, and the Risso’s dolphins are identified by their large heads.
This species eat squid – and usually pick up a few scars in the process of catching them. The scars turn the Dolphin’s skin white, so if you see a white one, it’s going to be an older one. This species is a bit more solitary than some of the other mammals which travel together in larger numbers.
If a Minke (or other) whale is around, a clue will be a large number of seabirds together at sea.
Their presence means a whale has found a shoal of fish and is rounding them up. Gannets, gulls and puffins will be seen picking fish up from the surface. Suddenly the birds will scatter as the giant whale’s mouth emerges to catch the fish.
Ian told us the unfortunate (if not heart-breaking) story of some humpback whales that appeared here each winter. There were a mother and her calf, and a male. They made an impressive sight, however it is thought that the mother and calf were found on an Angus beach having become tangled in fishing nets.
Being mammals, they could not surface; they could not free themselves – and they died. Thankfully in general terms the population of the Humpback and other whales is returning. (Feel free to write to the Norwegian, Icelandic and Japanese Embassies and protest at their pro-whaling stance in the meantime).
Fisherman or not, we can all act responsibly to encourage and protect our marine life.
For openers, don’t throw your plastic trash out near the shore, and don’t flush anything plastic down the toilet. You otherwise risk having your unwanted plastic junk (like cotton buds) ending up eaten by sea creatures that will probably die.
If you have slightly greater ambitions than not littering the sea with plastic goods, then by all means come to Torry Battery and look for marine life. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find something to see.
As our talk came to an end, the dolphins reappeared almost on cue. Many people had been surprised to know whales could be spotted, and many people planned to head back to Torry soon. I had been asking a family (originally from New York) for some comments on the morning’s activity.
The re-appearance of the dolphins left Iona and her brother little left to say except ‘did you see that one?’ ‘Amazing!’ and ‘Look there they are again!’
Things to do further afield
Old Susannah watches the latest developments in the ‘Deen and the wider world and feels like a deer caught in headlights. Here is this week’s look at what’s happening where and who’s doing what to whom. By Suzanne Kelly.
This Saturday is Open Doors day; I urge you to get out and visit sites in Aberdeen normally closed to the public. (I will try and get to Marischal College – but I will also be whale-watching at Torry Battery with local expert Ian Hay at 10:30).
From noon Old Susannah will be at Marks & Spencer collecting signatures on postcards to highlight the plight of our Tullos Hill Deer. The postcards are free and will be sent to the City; please come see me. The design is a powerful one, I think you’ll agree.
Old Susannah spent last week in France and Italy. I wandered around small towns and capital cities, and was struck at the lack of concrete, shopping malls, and ‘connectivity’. Small, intimate spaces were around every corner – but you actually were better off walking from place to place.
Not a single monorail was in sight either. Small, local shops were busy with locals and tourists – there was no choice but to buy individualistic, hand-made items in most of the places I visited. Streets were tree-lined; parks filled with interesting plants, and the pavements were amazingly clean. Even the smallest of towns had rich programmes for retired/elderly people.
I even came across a programme to teach dog owners the importance of keeping their animals under control and cleaning up after them. Don’t worry – nothing like this will happen here.
Sad to say I missed this year’s Offshore Europe.
While historically a few firms hire attractive fashion models to talk to prospective clients about North Sea joint venture economics and showcase the latest in directional drilling techniques and so on, this year it seems one firm took things a bit further. I am told swimsuit models were window dressing for one of the stands.
Perhaps this bathing-suit theme was something to do with subsea operations or ‘diving’ of some sort or other. Whatever happened to the old-fashioned practice of giving OE visitors lots to drink? In any case, it is a good thing we have more women involved in the oil business, and the presence of glamour models should by no means be seen as a cheap publicity stunt or a large backwards step for equality.
In a happy development, the baby gull that I rescued (with a co-worker’s help) made a complete recovery at New Arc Animal Sanctuary, and will be released soon, along with a Fulmar and some ducklings. Keith at New Arc has his hands full, and is still looking for volunteers and donations. New Arc will shortly open a charity shop in Banff, and will want your unwanted quality goods (new and used) to sell. Get in touch with New Arc at email@example.com.
I realise not everyone loves birds and gulls – I’ve not forgotten Mervyn New, who happily blasted baby gulls with a gun (at his work no less). But it seems a contributor to Aberdeen’s newest free newspaper, Aberdeen City Life, isn’t fond of them, either.
‘Fona’ McKinnon writes in City Life about the ‘Terrorists From the Sky.’ Er, they are birds and not quite terrorists; some people might object to the comparison in this run-up to the anniversary of 9/11. Best not to feed them (terrorists I mean) in town, but it’s definitely best not to blast them with guns either. Old Susannah wishes City Life all the best, and is glad there is another hard copy newspaper in town.
Finally, a tired, old, Aberdeen institution has had a much-needed facelift (no, not you Kate). Aberdeen City’s website has been re-vamped, and looks absolutely vibrant and dynamic. (More on its contents in a minute).
Time for some timely Deen definitions.
(modern English compound noun) An organisation or enterprise staffed, organised and managed mainly by members of one family.
Much has been said lately about the excesses of the UK’s MPs when it comes to claiming expenses. Gone are the days of flipping second homes, flipping padded expenses and flipping new luxury bird houses in moats for the flipping MPs.
Much has also been said about the MPs using unpaid interns. The interns work for free, and more often than not are people who don’t need to work for money; often internships are given out to the well connected. But one area where the MP is still free to do as they please concerns hiring family.
Family members serve as secretaries, assistants and office managers. The Independent Newspaper’s sister paper ‘i’ reports that the taxpayer is shelling out a few million pounds annually for the 130 or so MPs’ family members. I am sure it must be a hardship working for mum or dad; the interviewing process must be rigorous.
I guess the jobs are all advertised widely, and a number of candidates are shortlisted before junior gets the job.
Closer to home, I note that many of our elected City Council officials still have time to run Aberdeen along world-class lines while still keeping a hand in their own family businesses. Some work as assistants for family plumbing or electrical businesses. Old Susannah knows it’s possible to do more than one job at once, but has always been confused by one little detail.
Some of these councillors list on their council web pages that they work for a family business – but when I look at the official register of interests, I can’t find where that work is actually listed. Are they working for free? Possibly – they are all quite selfless souls. Even so, I believe such work is meant to be on the official register of interests.
I am still trying to get to grips with what is/is not put on the registers, and aside from one rather terse email to me from the City (which took months for them to compose), I’m just not there yet.
Of course if any of these family business companies were doing any work for the City, the relevant councillors would bow out of any relevant meetings, and there would be complete transparency. I am sure that everything is above board. I just can’t find it in writing, that’s all.
(Aberdeen modern phrase)
Just when you thought the City had completely shown its hand and come clean about deer, trees, expenses, garden projects, planning, and selling land at less than market value – along comes: the ‘Open Data Initiative’. I mentioned the swish new website layout (I have to admit – it is an improvement), well one of the new-look site’s great successes is the Open Data Initiative.
I can practically feel the suspense building, and almost hear people asking aloud “What is the Open Data Initiative”! Without any further ado – here you go:-
Open data is about increased transparency, about sharing the information we hold with the wider community to build useful applications.
We’re always looking for new ways of making it as easy as possible for developers and website owners to access and present data held by us in ways that they want – allowing you to remix, mashup and share data easily.
Use the links to the right to navigate to our various datasets available. We’ll be adding more datasets soon, as well as pointers to online tools for making use of this data.
I am confident the City knows about data ‘mashup’; I would in fact swear to this. Well, what possible data are they now freeing up for us to mash and re-organise?
Will they tell me how much they are paying the deer ‘expert’?
Will they (finally) say how much land they sold at less than market value?
Will they let me know if any companies doing building maintenance at council properties are Councillors’ family businesses?
Brace yourself: if you go to the Statistics page link on the Open Data page.
You will find everything you might want to know. About how many hits the City’s website gets per month, the population figures, and the expenditure on something called the ‘Accord’ Card.
These are the very things I’d put on a Statistics page if I ran a city that was millions in the red. I was dying to know how many visitors the City’s web page had in August 2010 – the answer was (of course) 214,000. I guess that’s all of our questions answered now.
With our debt level in mind (and not being 100% certain a carpark and mall in UTG will save us from ruin), I followed a link to the February finance meeting documents. With our newly-launched ‘Open Data’ initiative in place, surely the City will be open with its – I mean our - finances, I thought.
Not all data is for the public of course. For instance, I was relieved to find that about half the information the Finance Committee discussed in February last year is off limits. Have a look for yourself if you like:
You’ll see that many documents are withheld as they are tip top secret, must never be released, and are commercially sensitive. And thank goodness. It’s hard to get any privacy sometimes; so I’m glad to know that privacy is respected by our City’s officials.
However, I noted that an item from this Finance meeting about ‘Managed Data Centre and Virtual Desktop Environment’ was deemed secret.
If we have an ‘open data’ policy I guess it’s reasonable to withhold information from the public on the ‘Managed Data Centre and Virtual Desktop Environment ’ - I’m just not sure why.
But the good news is now you can see the reasons why you can’t see the items on the agenda. And that, I suppose, is ‘Open Data’.
On that note I feel the need for a Brewdog coming on. I will say here and now I bought a few shares in Brewdog, so please consider that my interest in Brewdog to be declared. I bought the shares, the T-shirt, and the beers. Why? Because they are great.
If I had a family business, I’d like it to be Brewdog, I do declare.
- Next week: ‘Police and Thieves’
The leak’s leaked. Those nice people at Shell seem to have been economical with the truth about their North Sea oil spill; they say they have been completely open and honest. However, some half a dozen environmental/animal groups do not think so.
I know whom I am tempted to believe. I hope Shell can do for us what it has done for Nigeria, farmers in Northern Ireland, etc. etc. If nothing else, it is good to know Shell has gone into public relations overdrive and is pouring oil on troubled waters.
Back on dry land, it is hard to know where to start doing a round-up of this past week’s events in the ‘Deen and the wider world. The Road Sense AWPR appeal has failed. Helpfully, Kate Dean posted on a Facebook discussion thread (you see – she is down with the kids for definite) stating:
“I’m amazed that this topical community hasn’t seen fit to discuss today’s Court of Session ruling on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.”
I told our Katie:
“To Ms Dean – nice to see you weighing in. I think you will find this ‘topical community’ and the Aberdeen Voice have historically dealt with both sides of the AWPR story. As the Voice is a weekly publication, no doubt some contributors will send in relevant items for next week’s issue. You would be welcome to write a piece as well”.
Alas! Kate relied:
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to contribute to a publication which habitually refers to me in such a derogatory and insulting fashion”
I tried to explain that my writings are ‘satire’ (well, for the most part). Of course there is not much tradition of important politicians being satirised in Great Britain – well, only since the time of King John, and more recently Hogarth, Spitting Image and Private Eye. (I would have also replied: “XXXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXXXX”, but I could not figure out how to do redacted text on FB). Perhaps I just do not know the meaning of the word ‘appropriate’ – time to see what can be learnt from Kate’s examples (see definitions).
Perhaps Kate thinks that is the end of the AWPR matter, and the necessary, environmentally-friendly, economical road will go ahead. Well, we will see. PS – my Facebook Home page tells me to suggest friends for Kate. Any ideas?
And we have another nursing scandal; this time at Woolmanhill.
A nurse has allegedly been over-drugging patients, and gave a person a salt-cellar instead of their inhaler. We are getting close to a medical scandal a week. I wonder if all the cutbacks to frontline services might be related to frontline services going down the pan.
Old Susannah’s had a senior moment; I remembered writing about the brilliant designs shortlisted for the gardens, and thought I had done so in a column. Turns out I had only done so on Facebook. While trying to find what I did write, I googled my way upon this quotation:
“The gardens have the potential to be transformed in to a popular, attractive and vibrant green space in the heart of the city. The gardens have come under increasing pressure in recent years, with various schemes put forward to raise their level and develop them as a leisure facility. Care must be taken not to over-develop the space and potentially risk losing its essential drama and historical landform”.
- 2007, AberdeenCityCouncil Report
The above was the conclusion the City came to in (yet another expensive) report in 2007. Since then a few things have changed, and commonsense has prevailed: the only thing wrong with Aberdeen is that UTG is not vibrant and dynamic. This is why we are all going broke, crime is shooting up, the independent shops are closing, and the streets are filthy: it is the gardens – they are not used enough and are in a valley!
We may or may not get a vote on the Gardens’ future – but we have lined up five designers who have form when it comes to doubling and trebling their budgets. I guess if you want something as beautiful, as functional and elegant as the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, it’s going to cost. Then again, an inflatable Jacuzzi (on sale via ‘Groupon’) would have been as pretty and functional – and costs a few million less.
I’m sure it’s because I didn’t study architecture in great depth, but at first glance I thought the shortlist was the most predictable collection of expensive hacks to ever build boring and unsuitable creations, obviously my mistake.
Still, the Diana Memorial Fountain designer is one of our fine finalists! I hope you are as excited as I am. Since I did not go into detail about the talented designers Malcolm Reading has lined up to fix our city’s problems and how much it is likely to cost and since I cannot find my writings on the matter to begin with, (but I did mention some of the references rxpell uses), here is a good article from rxpell that sums things up nicely:
This article will help you decide which of our five finalists to vote for. If you get a vote. We do not know for sure, even though HoMalone’s promised us a vote, which would include leaving the gardens as they are. But this is Aberdeen, and the government’s position changes more often than the weather.
(I would love to say I have been out at nice dinners and working my way through the ever-changing Brewdog menu, but for the time being my doctors have me on lockdown, and am forced to live off rice, tofu and yoghurt drinks. Somehow this does not really suit me. Still, I will be back doing the rounds as soon as I can). But now for some definitions.
1. (adjective) fitting, proper, suitable, in accord with acceptable norms.
Am I ever embarrassed by Kate’s telling me that it ‘is not appropriate’ for her to write in the Voice, as we are derogatory about her. Shame-faced, I asked myself what can I learn from her example of what is appropriate behaviour? I came up with a few examples.
What is appropriate:
Thank you Ms Dean – I will indeed learn much from you, and will continue my studies.
And to whom but Aberdeen’s first citizen should I next turn towards to learn about appropriate behaviour: Mr Milne has it nailed. Out of the goodness of his heart, he allowed people to actually comment on his stylish plan for Triple Kirks (the Press & Journal obligingly called the area an ‘eyesore’ in an article. There goes that bothersome blurring of ‘editorial’ and ‘article’ again, which of course is not appropriate).
Those who did comment on the Triple Kirks plans marvelled at the giant glass boxes (never mind the peregrines). At least Milne said as much, claiming the majority loved his ground-breaking design.
(Hmm, if only there were some nearby, empty space that could be converted to parking, the scheme would be even easier to approve – if they could come up with some kind of a plan…). Anyway, those few who objected and left email addresses got a very appropriate follow-up email from a Milne company, which reads along the lines of:
“Many thanks for your enquiry. We will forward details and information to you shortly. We’re here to ensure that buying your new home is easy and enjoyable, so if we can help any further, just let us know. Sell Your Home in 5 Days”
Now if I were a sceptical, cynical person, I would ask myself: is writing to people who opposed your plans and offering to get them a new home in an ‘easy and enjoyable’ manner something that could be construed as a bribe? Well, the City says everything is fine, so I guess it is all appropriate. I have dismissed the idea that offering sales help to people who were against you is at all wrong.
I hope this has cleared up what is appropriate and what is not.
2. (verb) – to take by deceit or force that which belongs to another.
See: Union Terrace Gardens, City Garden Project, ACSEF, Donald Trump, Compulsory Purchase Orders.
(noun) custom or activity rooted in the past.
People are funny about their traditions. We are being told by the City Council that painting the Lord Provost’s portrait – and celebrating the glorious event with an expensive party is OK – as it is tradition.
Foxhunting (no, not with golf clubs and tame foxes, Mr Forbes) was a United Kingdom tradition going back hundreds of years; it was deemed cruel and barbaric, and therefore has been made illegal. The Catalonia area of Spain has recently given bullfighting the coup de grace – it is hard to imagine anything more barbaric than bullfighting masquerading as a ‘sport’.
I came under criticism (on Facebook again – I really must stay away from that thing) for saying Spain should consider doing away with bullfighting. (PS – if you really think the bull has a chance, and there is no prolonged torture or pain, and it is a brave matador that fights a bull with only a cape to protect himself, then think again – PETA will put you right).
Someone said I was showing ignorance of Spanish culture and tradition. Their point was that tradition was more important than the animal issues. I say “bull”.
The city could not afford to replace broken windows in schools only a few years ago, but wants to shell out on canapés for its elected officials and the usual suspects to celebrate the fact that its Provost is an oil painting. Too right. Without these traditions, we would start moving forward. And the future is uncertain. It is best to cling to what previous generations did – it is safe (well, maybe).
If we always paid for a portrait, then we had better keep paying for a portrait. We might have to cut a few services, but let us stick to whatever was the more traditional course of action. It is important to bear in mind that all traditions are equal in value and all are good. Perhaps we could bring back ducking witches in the loch? Yes, to question traditions is to question culture and nationalism – and where would be without nationalism?
In my world, it is the 21st Century. The whole world is under different pressures than it was when these wonderful traditions came about. There should be more enlightenment and compassion than brutality and superstition; we have run out of excuses. But then I turn on the news, and realise that I have got it wrong again.
Old Susannah is now out to catch something for dinner, and possibly bash a few enemies over the head with my wooden club. Now where did I leave my bow and arrows?
Next week: hopefully some FOI news, more definitions, and a back-to-school special look at education.
The Donald he is cryin oot
“They canna dee iss ti me
Biggin a muckle great windfairm
Oot in the grey north sea”
Hypocrisy teen ti new leevels
Is fit fowk micht jalouse
His gowf course connached an SSSI
Yet he compleens aboot spyled views
Noo maybe the Scottish Government
Wull be scratchin aa their pows
If Trumpie mounts a challenge
An iss leads ti affa rowes
“Scotland’s open fer business”
Wis their triumphant hoot
Refusin the windfairm application
Wid pit iss claim in doot
The spyled view fae the gowf course
“The greatest een in the world”
Micht result in him pullin oot
Afore a flagstick’s bin unfurled
Wi rage Donald wull be duncin
If iss win’ project they’ll nae cull
He’ll try some bluff an bluster
Cos o win’ he is richt full
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011
Image credit: © Sebastian Czapnik | Dreamstime.com
Noo oor Widdie he his made ma laach
I think the mannie’s jist made a gaffe
Fin he ranted at thon Chuncellor Dod
Faa I’m sure he thinks an ignorant sod
Chuncellor Dod raised the North Sea tax
Sir Ian thinks iss is maist affa lax
Geordie Osborne shud hae asked the view
O Sir Ian Widd an aa his motley crew
Wi the ile industry Dod’s nae consulted
So Widdie wis maybe a bittie insulted
Seems the chuncellor shud hae first teen heed
O the haill ile industry an aa their creed
A wee bit o a hypocrite ye cwid caa Sir Ian
Aiberdonians thochts they wir sint fleein
Aboot UTG plans Sir Ian, ye ignored oor view
So fit wye shud Dod Osborne tak heed o you
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011