Feb 082013

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.

Tally Ho!  As St Valentine’s Day approaches, love is well and truly in the air.  Either that, or the wind has changed direction and is blowing across the sewage plant.

Another vibrant and dynamic week passed in the Deen; I saw the excellent comedy improv troupe Wildly Unprepared at their usual free show at the Belmont; I hope to catch up with them soon to write about them in more depth.

I quite enjoyed the audience participation part of it.

I’ve been to a few restaurants and bars as well; of course including the usual stop at BrewDog.  Particularly delicious drinks at the moment are the collaboration ‘Catherine’s Pony’ and guest, ‘The Eight Ball.’

I decided it would be a good idea to reintroduce the word ‘journal’ to the title of my column this week; there seems to be a few people on Facebook who are scandalised that this little satirical diary column should include details of what I get up to, or what I like.

I am of course the first columnist in history to write a diary applauding places, people and products.  Unless you count Samuel Pepys, Julie Burchill, and even the Evening Express’s very own Cat Cubie.  I did try staying home and not seeing people, but for some reason, I wound up getting less story leads that way, and it made for even less exciting reading than my normal column.

Some others are apoplectic that I should mention BrewDog.  I promise to try to stop forcing people to read this column and I will no longer make people drink craft beer.   Just for the record, I first disclosed my massive (£95) shareholding in the company only recently.  September 2011 to be exact.  But in the interests of fairness, I will make a point of including other excellent products and services going forward.

I am still rather cross with my postman; I never did receive my invite to the wedding of the decade.  Mistress Bates and her Master (ie Trump’s VP and the P&J’s editor) never got the wedding gifts I’d painstakingly sourced for them, and I never got to wear my new hat.

As well as a case of Donald Trump brand water and a fetching Donald Trump necktie (made in China), perfect for the editor who has everything, I’d some other great gifts lined up:-

1.  Padded check shirt (only £19.99 or buy any two for £29.99). I’d arranged his and hers fleece-lined shirts, perfect for casual wear when working outdoors.  I can picture the happy couple now, perhaps hand in hand at the Balmedie dunes, watching the ‘fantastic’ progress made repairing the eroded course, or overseeing security guards chasing ramblers and locals around.

2.  Steam-O-Power – with which they would have been able to ‘say goodbye to ironing and eliminate wrinkles fast.’  I foresee that they happy couple just might have a few wrinkles to iron out.  Anyway, ‘Steam-O-Power was a steal at £29.95.

It included a trouser crease attachment (perfect for looking your best for visiting billionaires and Scottish Government ministers, or cutting a figure at PCC enquiries).  A brush and measuring cup were also included (at no extra cost!  Result!) – handy for giving people the brush-off, or for measuring out Donald Trump water.

3.  Wrinkle cream – guaranteed to fix your laughter and worry lines.  Never mind the old-fashioned concept that ‘beauty is as beauty does.’  Sometimes life’s little stresses and strains can cause – heaven forbid! – the odd wrinkle.  A beauty queen can’t be too careful, you know.  I’m sure that there would only have been laughter lines to be corrected, as what could possibly worry Mrs Bates?

Now that you’ve read about these great buys in the Old Susannah column, clearly there will be a stampede to the shops to try and find these great products since I’ve mentioned them.  Well, you needn’t look any further than the last few issues of the Press & Journal, for these are all P&J products, offered exclusively to readers by post.

The promises made for the effectiveness of the wrinkle cream are, I am certain as reliable as anything else in the paper.  I quite like the fact they are diversifying, but I can’t imagine why they would need to.  I did try and find a stain remover, but alas no such luck.   This might explain a few lingering stains indeed.

Well, with Valentine’s Day upon us, romantic gifts from roses and champagne to teddy bears and silk teddies, check flannel-lined shirts and wrinkle steamers are flying off shop shelves.  Here then are some timely terms for this celebration of love.

Engagement: (Eng. 1.  noun – two people contracted to marry each other; 2.  Mod Eng. verb – to interact)

Traditionally, engagements are announced and details posted in newspapers or church bulletins; the happy couples are usually so proud of their pending nuptials that they want to shout it from the rooftops.  Then again, some tend to want to keep things quiet.

Marriage: (Eng. noun) a legally-binding partnership with another person, whether of the same sex or not.

The ConDems have ConFounded everyone by voting to allow two people of the same sex to marry one another.  Don’t worry, there is no sign this development will happen in Scotland any time soon.

Two people can’t be in love if they are of the same sex, as any morally-correct person can tell you.  Come back Mary Whitehouse – you were right all along!  Same-sex couples for some reason wanted and now have the same legal and economic rights as straight people.

In the old days, if one partner in a same-sex union fell seriously ill, the other was left out of medical decisions, funeral decisions, and of course inheriting, even being thrown out of what was once their home in favour of the morally-superior heterosexual relatives of the deceased.

Still, if people will go against God and have a same-sex partnership, what do they expect.  We know God is against gay unions, because in the bible it says ‘love one another’ and because there are lots of right wing people with guns and bibles who say they know what God wants.  That’s good enough for me.

To recap – a socially-acceptable marriage is when a good looking woman (like a beauty queen for instance) marries a man with lots of money (like a newspaper editor).  This is the only kind of marriage that really works.

But sadly, even for morally-upright, god-fearing conservative people, marriages don’t always end well….

Divorce: (Eng. verb) To dissolve a marriage partnership.

It is with tears in my eyes that I see the spectacle of Chris Huhne’s family woes unfold in the press.  I could be wrong, but his wife seems just a little upset, and his son has hinted on social media that not all is well in this once happy home.

This humble politician, former cabinet member, and LibDem leading light, got into a teeny tiny bit of legal trouble, and this had a knock-on effect on his family.  The poor man was caught by a speed camera, and most nobly, his lovely, loving wife agreed to sayit was  she who was at the wheel, Chris thus avoiding a few more points on his license and avoiding scandal.

I wonder how the scandal-avoiding scheme is working out for him.

Vicky Pryce (who doesn’t seem to want to be known as the ex Mrs Huhne for some reason)  has been charged with perverting the course of justice by taking the blame for the offence.  Somehow, the idea of spending a few months in Holloway to protect her husband’s sterling reputation seems to have soured the love.

Reading between the lines, or more accurately reading between the tweets and posts, his son is not taking the dissolution of his parents’ marriage very well.  Young Huhne has written to his dad:-

“I hate you, so f*** off”

“you are the most ghastly man I have ever known”

“don’t contact me again.  You make me feel sick.”

Even the Great Donald has been divorced; if memory serves, his subsequent wives coincidentally tended to be younger and physically prettier than their predecessors.  Everyone likes the sight of a perfect May to December couple; knowing they got together for spiritual and emotional reasons which have nothing to do with power, vanity, or greed.

It is only fair that a rich man should have a young and pretty woman on his arm, isn’t it?  (Older rich women take note:  society tells you ‘don’t even think about it.).

Even the seemingly innocent newlyweds Sarah and Damian had each been married before. I guess it is normal for two people thrown together by common interests to fall in love.   Let’s hope they have now found lasting happiness; we do know that they work very well together indeed.

Sarah’s dad, councillor Tom Malone coincidentally shares her employer’s dislike of wind farms, having voted against all 6 applications which came in front of him.  How very like-minded they all seem to be.  I can practically feel a surge of warmth when I think of them all.  Then again, I think it’s just that my checked flannel-lined shirt is too warm.

I’m just trying to remind myself of all the great reasons same-sex marriages shouldn’t be allowed and that heterosexual marriages like Mr & Mrs Huhne are the way to go.  Once I make this list, I’ll get back to you.  However, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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  17 Responses to “Old Susannah’s Journal No 111 – Love Is In The Air”

  1. Another vibrant and dynamic week perhaps, but I still await a response to my comments on the significant errors of fact in Old Susannah 109, which were published at the end of both that column and Old Susannah 110 (or would that not be vibrant and dynamic enough?)

    • Brian / anyone who’s not sure what your post refers to: In OS No. 109 200 words were devoted to Nurse Nicola Cheyne, the woman who was sacked and who is fighting to get her registration back. The same week, a newspaper reported that a convicted murderer could possibly be allowed to stay in the nursing profession. (See OS No. 109 for the 200 words I devoted to the subject) The juxtaposition of these two nurse stories appeared in local media and were a popular topic of discussion at the time; this is where my opinion came from. I am indebted to Brian for first pointing out an error (my reference to ‘Royal College of Nurses’ should have of course been ‘Nursing’). Brian then kindly posted again, and in great detail claimed I have made’significant errors of fact’. I thought I was simplifying and summarising in the quest for brevity.

      I’m always happy to correct errors, but with Brian’s corrections already posted, I saw no need to beat a dead horse and turn it into burgers and lasagne. I had assumed that losing registration as a nurse was in some way the equivalent of being struck off, and I had also thought this had happened immediately (the initial articles did not say anything about the case being old). http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/sacked-nurse-fights-to-win-back-registration.html I don’t agree these are gross factual errors, sorry.

      This column is a diary and a satirical round-up of topical issues with observations. While accuracy is the goal (as well as sarcasm and satire), errors do happen. The comments Brian posted serve exactly the way for instance Private Eye’s letter page serves – to let the public make any comments and corrections which they feel Private Eye articles deserve. The Eye staff hardly ever feel the need to comment further to published letters. Mostly, the PE staff seem to feel the need with getting on with the next issue, and other articles/columns. As do I.

      I am happy to bow to Brian’s detailed knowledge; please do read his corrections if you are interested, and weigh my 200 words and the point I was making with them. The point seems to still remain valid.

      Most people who’ve expressed an opinion to me think is the main issue, not whether ‘sacked’ or ‘struck off’ or ‘suspended’ or the time frame are the relevant points: 1. Murderer and apparent liar? RCN needs to think about whether such a person is a fit nurse. 2. Nurse who took an unaccompanied child with her and was later thanked by the father for her actions, even if they were not to the letter of what she was expected to do? RCN has taken away her registration (or whatever the exact correct term is) and she was sacked from her job. Aside from my lack of nursing knowledge, which I think is forgivable given the media coverage; the issue under examination is this rather disturbing unfairness.

      Brian, if you were led into thinking that I am in some Aberdeen Voice office somewhere, working away full-time writing and researching, and am able 24/7 to issue corrections on issues which are already corrected by comments posted(and which do not in any way alter the substance of the point I’m making in a diary column), you’d be wrong. In fact I try not to comment on these pages at all; I believe they are primarily meant for reaction and discussion by readers. You would be more than welcome to write a piece on this nursing case or indeed any other issue you wish; we’ll get it published.

      To sum up – take Brian’s comments over mine as to the ins and outs of Cheyne’s suspension and how the RCN works. Take my observation as to the fairness of the big picture as being what the column is addressing. Hope this helps; for me, alas, this is the end of this matter. Tally Ho! – OS

      • That’s me well and truly told then. My own fault I suppose for having the temerity to even suggest that the queen of the Aberdeen Voice might have got some facts wrong in the satirical column which she appears to suggest ranks with those found in Private Eye. (Please excuse me while I stifle a guffaw!)

        I would say, however, that like Old Susannah I am not a nurse and, as a result, do not have ‘detailed knowledge’ of the subject. On the other hand, unlike Old Susannah, I managed to unearth the facts relating to this case by doing a wee bit of research.

        (RESEARCH: noun – “diligent and systematic inquiry, or investigation, into a subject in order to discover, or revise, facts, theories, applications etc,” – you know, the kind of thing we expect competent journalists do.)

        Oh yes and we did get the point of your comparison Susannah – the only problem was that you either failed to do your homework or chose to misrepresent the details of one of the cases in order for it to fit your line of reasoning.

        But, as I’m sure you’ve said many times about P&J articles you disagree with, why let the facts spoil a good story!

  2. To mention Samuel Pepys, Julie Burchill, and ‘even’ the Evening Express’s Cat Cubie in the same breathe as yourself is rather hilarious, Ms Kelly. Because ‘even’ Ms Cubie operates on a considerably higher journalistic plane than yourself. Unfortunately, what you describe as ‘simplifying and summarising’ often leads to amateurish exaggeration and distortion that might suit your own particular agenda but can be very misleading to the reader. I refer in particular to the rather nasty innuendo you insinuated against the Wood Family Trust in regard to its partnership with ACC in an educational project. How often are you going to use the part-time nature of your work with AV as an excuse for getting your facts wrong? Perhaps if you apologised when you did, and spent more time establishing the facts than simply churning out as many words as possible each week, then who knows where that might take you?

    • Well said. A friend has told me that even Aberdeen Journals have a strict policy that doesnt allow journalists to advertise company’s they have shares in.

  3. Aberdeen Voice has never been frightened to tackle/take on issues which the local press really should. While Suzanne may make the odd error, she expresses the opinions of many in the city and environs whose voices would otherwise go unheard

    Yes, some of the issues may be contentious, but still warrant discussion and Aberdeen Voice serves that platform well, in my humble opinion.

  4. Oops, forgot to say. A wee bit of research would also have shown that the NMC is very keen to have the nurse who Susannah describes as a ‘murderer and apparent liar’ struck off the nursing register (and it seems likely that this will happen later this month) but the brother of the wife he was convicted of murdering is quoted as saying “This seems a waste of money and resources to continually have hearings and I am surprised to find out they are ongoing – it is incredible” – see http://local.stv.tv/aberdeen/news/210150-nmc-makes-fresh-bid-to-strike-off-convicted-killer-malcolm-webster/

  5. According to this article, “Vicky Pryce … has admitted perverting the course of justice by taking the blame,” yet yesterdays Guardian reported, “Pryce, 60, an economist, DENIES perverting the course of justice by taking her husband’s penalty points after his speeding offence 10 years ago, on the ground of marital coercion” – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/08/vicky-pryce-chris-huhne-coercion

    I wonder who is correct.

  6. ‘Technically’ nothing.

    The national press has been quite clear on this matter eg yesterdays Scotsman – “Ms Pryce DENIES perverting the course of justice and claims Huhne bullied her into taking his speeding points in 2003.”

    Admit it, Old Susannahs statement that “Vicky Pryce … has ADMITTED perverting the course of justice …” just means shes got it wrong again!

    • The statement, written before the national press articles you refer to, implied that by accepting the points in place of Mr Huhne, that Vicky Pryce did indeed pervert the course of justice.

      Looking at the statement in light of your comments, it is plain that this is not how most folks would read the statement, therefore, as I stated, you are technically, or otherwise, correct.

      The post has been amended. Surely this is a clear admission/confirmation that Suzanne Kelly’s statement, although initially viewed as correct, is now considered to be WRONG.

      So there is no dispute really, and we are grateful for your input which has resulted in the statement in question now being correct.

    • Hello Tam, thanks for your in-depth and continuing interest in this point of law. It would be interesting to know who you are, and why this precise issue is so important to you; if you are a legal professional, I’m happy to bow to your superior knowledge. But since you don’t seem to be satisfied, one valid interpretation of the plea she entered is this: she pleaded not guilty by marital coercion – ie admitting she did pervert the course of justice, and that the offense was indeed committed – but portraying herself as a person with no-free will bound by her controlling husband.

      If I were writing a legal journal, this might be of some interest to the readers. But again, this is a satirical column and not a legal paper. All the best

      • Ms Kelly,

        Another hilarious reply – trying to cast sarcastic aspersions against those you perceive as opponents.

        You claim to write a satirical journal, yet don’t recognise there is a line between satire and mudslinging, a line you cross frequently without too much regard for hard facts.

        It would be interesting to know who Tam is, you say? Why would it be interesting?

        Is it because you would like to try and dig up some dirt on his Facebook profile, Ms Kelly?

        ( *** Post moderated as lightly as possible in order that the whole is not overtly defamatory *** )

      • Let me see if I can simplify this for you.

        In early 2011 Ms Pryce told the political editor of the Sunday Times that 8 years earlier she had “consented” to take speeding points on her licence in order that her husband of the time could avoid a driving ban.

        When this story was published both she and her ex husband (Chris Huhne) were charged with perverting the course of justice.

        When Huhne appeared in court he pleaded guilty to the charges – in other words he admitted that he perverted the course of justice – and currently awaits sentencing.

        However when Ms Pryce appeared in court she pleaded not guilty to the charge of perverting the course of justice – in other words she DENIED that she perverted the course of justice – and her case continues.

        To sum up – Ms Pryce has admitted taking speeding points for her ex-husband, but denies the charge that she perverted the course of justice. (Had she admitted to perverting the course of justice the case would over and she would be awaiting sentencing.)

        So while the amended statement in your article that she “has been charged with perverting the course of justice” is 100% correct, your original statement that “she has admitted perverting the course of justice by taking the blame” completely misrepresents the situation and is wrong.

        Hope this helps. For me, alas, this is the end of this matter. Tally Ho!

  7. I might add, Ms Kelly, that whether writing for a legal journal or a satirical column, one’s readers have a right to expect accuracy. Your attitude suggests otherwise.

  8. Would you like to tell me on what grounds my last post was removed, please?

    (*** Post included same defamatory statement as was previously moderated. Also contained inaccuracies and info which had been given privately. Furthermore, the team took the view that the post was personalised in terms not only of who you wished to comment on, but who you were addressing, and had no place in the comments section, particularly as you had been allowed to make your original point with very little moderation, and that you were no longer discussing the article the comments box was opened to accomodate. The decision was taken to treat the post in the same way as an article. See FAQs on our home page. ***)

    • Although I trained in journalism law, I’m afraid you have never made it clear what part of my post you consider defamatory. Please clarify.
      (***This will be obvious from the few changes which were made in the amended comment. This matter is now closed***)

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