Nov 192010

Voice’s Old Susannah tackles more tricky terms with a locally topical taste.

Aesthetics : The Northern Hotel in Aberdeen has a cheerful, charming, lively painting for sale by an artist named Robin Green.  It is of something called Union Terrace Gardens.  Old Susannah knows a thing or two about painting, and knows this artist must have taken a good deal of time and effort over this bright, leafy scene.  The nice folks at ASCEF will be doing Robin a favour by turning Union Terrace Gardens into a slab of concrete – Robin won’t need nearly as many colours for any future paintings of the area, and painting a grey square will certainly be a much quicker, easier task.

Next time you’re in the Northern, have a look for this painting.  It might be of use to historians some time in the not-too-distant future if they want to know what a landscape looked like.

Redundancy : One definition of redundancy is to lose your job; redundancy also means unnecessary repetition.  In terms of jobs, 900 Aberdeen City Council employees apparently face unemployment.  Old Susannah hopes that everyone will be OK, and that none of the core services (like change management) will be affected; she is just surprised that the Council didn’t wait until Christmas Eve to make the announcement  for dramatic effect.  It should also be noted that in the past, Council employees were told in so many words not to join protests, write letters in support of schools and services to the press, and not to sign petitions:  if they did, then their jobs might be at risk.

There will now be 900 people free from the Council’s helpful, caring guidance as to what to think, write and say.  Let’s just hope none of these 900 will do or say anything to criticise the City, or talk about what goes on in those hallowed halls.   Thankfully, there is little left to save anyway, so there won’t be much in the way of protest or petition left to do.  Guess it’s all working out for the best.  As mentioned in an earlier column, it’s extremely useful we have an expensive Change Management team – it looks as if there will be changes.  Some years ago, Old Susannah learnt that the Council had over 725 people in jobs earning more than £35,000 per year.  If you are interested, 725 times £35,000 minimum salary is a minimum of £25,375,000.  That was the result of a Freedom of Information request – no wonder Councillor Kev Stewart thinks such requests can be ‘absurd’ Yes, ‘value for money’ remains key.

In terms of unnecessary repetition, I am absolutely certain that there are no job overlaps, no unnecessary job positions or tasks within our streamlined, business-like Council.

the City was forward-thinking enough to set up and fund ASCEF, and look at all the good that’s come of that

It’s not as if there are endless numbers of committees, pointless meetings, unnecessary reports, or  expensive brochures published which no one wants or reads.  However, if anyone knows of anything redundant within our Council, please do get in touch.

Corporatarchy : New words spring into life all the time; and a new word according to Miriam Webster is corporatarchy.  This is a noun meaning “government according to corporate interests”.  It’s about time governments started taking notice of business interests; once that happens, we will have economic prosperity for all.  Clearly Aberdeen City Council could go a lot further to help its local businessmen.  Thankfully, it has found at least one helpful way to do  so:  it wants to set up a company to look after its assets.

The hundreds of highly-paid professionals within the Council (see above) are struggling as it is to travel and hold meetings; it is unfair to expect them to look after the City’s assets.  I am sure that corporate control by an outside agency will only benefit the remaining parks, museums, etc. that we the taxpayers of the City own.  After all, the City was forward-thinking enough to set up and fund ASCEF, and look at all the good that’s come of that.

Hairpiece : Toupee or not toupee – that is the question when you look at a powerful man with a full, virile head of hair.  Is it his own?  Is it a weave, a wig, a rug (literally), roadkill or a genetic mutation?  Old Susannah’s spies tell of a powerful local who is vain to the point of owning two hairpieces – one short, and one slightly shaggy.  He would wear the former for a week or two, switch to the longer one, and tell friends and staff he needed a haircut.  Then, out came the shorter wig again.  Old Susannah can’t believe anyone would be that vain, and would ask people not to tell such tall, incredible tales any longer.