Jul 262013

Suzanne Kelly gets to grips with the week that was with relevant definitions.

Bells rang out across the land; families cheered; flags were waved in celebration; couples kissed in the streets.  The happy news swept the world; the twittersphere nearly exploded.  I’m sure we will all remember where we were the happy day Ian Tallboys collected another award for the forest created on Tullos Hill. Hip hip hooray.

Yes, it’s good news again – Tullos Hill has won another award  http://www.scotsman.com/tullos-hill-wood-commended.  Chris Piper and Ranger Bigboy, who proudly collected the award, are captured in a moving article and beautiful photo, even more beautiful than Tullos Hill is at present.

Weeds choke many of the new trees, saplings are planted amid household and industrial rubble in stony soil, the deer are gone – but it’s award worthy in this state all the same.

Pete Leonard should be told that various ‘garden escapee’ flowers still manage to grow on the hill; he made it clear he had no time for the field of Dame’s Violets which used to cover the hill. No doubt he’ll want the remaining stragglers eradicated.

There is no news yet on the original proposal to make Tullos Hill’s future forest pay its way by producing timber. I hope they’re not holding their breath (or do I?).  For some reason the phrase ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ springs to mind.

There are however actually signs of growth on the trees at St Fitticks.  Soon some of them will be as tall as the surrounding weeds; tall enough to be hit by the salt spray from the North Sea and be hit by the 90+ mph winds we sometimes get.

Thankfully the deer are all gone/shot/culled, so it’s only the soil, salt spray, strong winds and a few random vandals that stand in the way of us having a forest (on a spot where Mother Nature had somehow not planted one before we did – I wonder why?). What could possibly go wrong?  (note – in fairness there are a few positives as well as a number of negatives regarding the current Tullos Hill ‘state–obviously not for deer though.

More on the state of the hill will be forthcoming. Thanks to everyone who came on our picnic last Sunday and congratulations to our experts on yet another award.

While we’ve had those Tallstoryboys winning awards, there has sadly been a spate of bad boys lately too. Naughty councillors, apoplectic security guards and profane beer brewers all made this week’s local news.

Advertising Standards Agency: (modern Eng. noun) An organisation set up to oversee advertisements for accuracy and profanity.

It would be remiss of me to ignore that the ASA have deemed some of BrewDog’s website copy offensive. The use of the word f*ck (among other words) on the BD website was totally criminal, unacceptable, offensive, immoral and the rest of it.  No doubt they had planned to turn the paragraphs in question from a small blurb amongst hundreds of other small blurbs on their page into tshirts, an MTV video, and a tv series.

The whole world would have been offended. I’m very glad the ASA folks nipped this in the bud, or tried to.  And to think I used to believe the ASA were feckless.

The ASA knows what it’s doing and fearlessly pursues those who advertise falsely or offensively. Mind you, they were no help regarding the Union Terrace Gardens referendum. I’d been among complainers to the ASA and OFCOM about the content of the pro web adverts. Believe it or not, the promises for the web almost seemed too good to be true, but then I’m a touch cynical on occasion.

The ASA wrote to me advising they had no power over all the ads and propaganda that appeared about the granite web.

They said their hands were tied – they could not challenge claims the web would mean billions of pounds flowing into the city for hundreds of years, the green space would double magically, or that 6,000 desirable permanent well-paid jobs came with the web, and it wasn’t going to cost the taxpayer anything at all ever. I guess these claims sounded realistic or that the ASA didn’t want to get involved.

Yet while the ASA shied away,  OFCOM stepped up to the plate – after the referendum vote had taken place of course.

at the rate we’re going, the entire shire will be under concrete soon

Anyway, I’m glad the ASA team have sprung on this meaty topic.  It must have been boring, trying to get energy company advertisements to give reliable, truthful information on energy pricing, or look at all the truthful, verifiable, legaly ads appearing on Facebook. Way to go.

Doing a bit further research, I note there have been similar f-word issues. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed. BrewDog’s been smacked across its collective nose with a rolled up newspaper (possibly the Evening Express) for writing ‘f*ck’ on its website, while at the same time, French Connection U.K.  remain, understandably, free to ‘FCUK’ around. I hope we can all appreciate the distinction between the two cases.

Skateboarders: (mod Eng. plural noun) A youth subculture based around urban landscape two-wheel transport.

I feel sorry for our local skateboarders; they would have been the true beneficiaries of any granite web. Mind you, at the rate we’re going, the entire shire will be under concrete soon, and ideal for skating.

Most skaters do their thing without bothering people. Clearly two young boarders got under the skin of an oil business security guard. In a Facebook Video, the man loses his temper spectacularly.

Was the guard taunted?  Was it persistent annoyance from the boys? We don’t know. We do know our heroic guard used language the ASA would have had issues with, and chased the kids away – while chasing them down the public street, threatening GBH. Alas! the company in question has faulty phone lines, and could not discuss the incident when a concerned FB reader rang about the incident.

Rumours suggesting the guard’s being poached by Malone to work security at Trumpland remain unconfirmed.

Martin Ford: (Proper name)  Aberdeenshire Councillor.

Who’s been a naughty boy then? Cllr. Ford is in the doghouse, facing the charge of being a councillor giving an interview to the media on council property concerning council issues. The supreme commander, aka chief Executive Colin MacKenzie and nemesis Cllr. Gifford are out for Ford’s head on a platter for this.

MacKenzie summoned Ford by letter to a meeting, somewhat like the principal sending a letter to your teacher summoning you to the principal’s office. How dare Ford give an interview at the council without getting a hall pass first? MacKenzie would have us believe that any and all interviews must be vetted and approved by him in advance if they happen to involve councillors talking when at the council.

Old Susannah’s written to get answers to a few questions – It’s just as well that every one of Cllr. Ford’s peers has behaved impeccably at all times.

I asked the complainers to answer a few simple questions for me:- where is the procedure set down for giving interviews; how many requests to conduct interviews were made; how many approved or disallowed; and what would the august Chief Executive who hands out the permission slips do if he himself wants to give a media interview?

When they answer me, I’ll let you know. Until then, it’s the naughty step for Martin Ford. After all, we can’t have people going around using their positions in unauthorised fashion.

It might be useful to juxtapose this anger over the use of council offices by a councillor with how the Scottish Enterprise logo and footage of Jennifer Craw got into the promo video made to convince us that Trump was the future.

Things are just a little different in Aberdeen City Council

I remember seeing this video presented by George Sorial himself at a town hall style meeting years ago. I got in touch with SE asap to find out whether this was an endorsement and if permission had been given to use this footage.

They coyly replied that permission had not been given to use the SE logo, which clearly implied that this government quango were in favour of Trump. Which of course they were; they’d spent taxpayer money on the promo DVD made to sell Balmedie to investors. Did Craw get hauled in to explain her presence in the film?  Did SE make a protest and clear the air, saying they gave no permission? Definitely not.

Clearly this kind of propaganda is allowed; Ford talking to reporters in the shire’s hallowed offices is, of course, just wrong.

Things are just a little different in Aberdeen City Council.  Old Susannah’s been to more than a few big meetings there now, and the funny thing is, after major votes, the councillors and waiting media just meet up and speak wherever and about whatever they want on council premises. It’s almost as if there is nothing wrong with councillors telling the public where they stand.

Next week: more on the city of culture bid submission, which I’m still forcing myself to read.

I had to stop at the ‘gigs on rigs’ bit; it was too exciting. Leaving aside the great-sounding, hip, happening concept title ‘gigs on rigs (which doesn’t at all sound like an idea scrawled on the back of an envelope after a long dinner), I am not really sure how this was going to work. First there is the fact the ‘city of culture’ was not really meant to be an ‘oil rig of culture’ hundreds of miles offshore.

For some reason, oil rigs are protected by the highest levels of security and the inherent safety issues with access dependent on weather conditions. Would your average band want to fly out to the middle of the North Sea to spend an evening?

Then there was the small matter of where these concerts were to be beamed in town, what acts would play (Toto? The Beautiful South? Deacon Blue?), and how we’d cope with the massive influx of visitors and the ticket demand for people who’d come to Aberdeen to go to local venues to watch offshore gigs on rigs. This could have been our own Glastonbury.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

  16 Responses to “Old Susannah’s Journal No. 128 – Bad Boys”

  1. A good mix this week Suzanne. It appears you can get awards for all kinds of nonsense. Perhaps the “City of Culture” one falls in to this bracket also. Strange how to umbridge at the Brewdog website offering, while totally disregarding the blatantly dubious offerings of the CGP lot. Perhaps money talks after all. Talking of money, I wonder when the illustrious Trump will complete his hundreds of over priced homes and luxury hotel? He desperately needs to get a return for his investors, so, wind farm or no wind farm, it’s only a matter of time.

    • Is he really desperate for a return for his investors? how do you know this?

      That is way more defamatory than anything I wrote about tree hugging Ford, seems friends of the editors here can write what they want whilst other get relevant posts chopped.

  2. [In my opinion] Martin Ford sums up all that is wrong with our City Council, “Defamatory portion of post removed – will be reinstated if poster can provide evidence in support of claim, or repost comment worded in a way which clearly indicates what is opinion and what is stated as factual – Moderator”

  3. “Gigs on Rigs”, which idiot thought that one up.

  4. I should have mentioned that I’m well aware of Mr Fords political background and where he now sits and know he didn’t sit directly on the city council but [I believe] he still went out of his way to involve himself with City matters. “Defamatory portion of post removed – will be reinstated if poster can provide evidence in support of claim, or repost comment worded in a way which clearly indicates what is opinion and what is stated as factual – Moderator”

  5. https://aberdeenvoice.com/tag/organisation/



    There’s your evidence, I look forward to my posts being reinstated.

    I also look forward to Ron backing up his claim that Mr Trump desperately needs to get a return for investors.

    [ George, having examined your ‘evidence’ we can fully accept that these might provide ample basis for your OPINION of Cllr. Ford, but no-one at Aberdeen Voice can see how any part of either of these articles justifies or supports the terms you have used to describe Mr Ford’s actions or position as related to in your post, therefore we are not prepared to accept liability for those comments as they stand.

    We feel we must point out three things, which will hopefully help you make better use of the comments facility than you have been able to of late.

    1. Your knowledge and opinion of Cllr. Ford or any other person or organisation is not an issue, and is of no concern to us. We have demonstrated often enough that where we find evidence of wrongdoing by any councillor or public figure, we have no fear of exposing said wrongdoing publicly regardless of the wrongdoer’s political leanings and/or influence.

    2. Moderation has less to do with protecting the person or organisation being commented on ( in this case Martin Ford ), but more to do with protecting the poster ( in this case you ), and more importantly, the publisher ( in this case Aberdeen Voice ) from legal challenge.

    3. Since the introduction of comments boxes were intended to give the public a say on our articles, and stimulate lively and informative debate, it makes no sense to edit ( or, as you put it, censor ) your opinion out of the potential debate without good reason. Your opinion will almost certainly provoke response, and this is good for Aberdeen Voice.

    The issue remains that the wording of your post presents OPINION as a STATEMENT OF FACT, which, by it’s potential to damage a named person’s reputation by way of specific, direct, unsubstantiated accusations represents defamatory material.

    I suggest you read the original advice again George ie. the part which suggests you “repost comment worded in a way which clearly indicates what is opinion and what is stated as factual”.

    You will find words such as ‘in my opinion’,’I believe’, I think’, It appears to me’, ‘It is as if’,’I Suggest’, ‘Isn’t it the case?’, etc which indentifies what is your opinion and/or makes any charge/accusation less direct, used appropriately, will usually be all that is required for all the points you wish to put across to be approved with little or no amendment.

    Otherwise, we consider this matter closed.

    – Moderator ]

  6. Can I suggest you read up on defamation laws, it will save you making further mistakes in the future.


    • Hello George. Thank you for the suggestion. You’ve now sent in some half dozen posts today, and I am not at all comfortable with the tone and content of them. AV will get back to you when it can on the status of your posts when the rest of theh team have had time to consider them.

      Just a reminder – while a column (such as Old Susannah) may be political satire, comments are a different thing. You can state your opinion; you can make constructive criticism, but stating opinion as fact, and abusive posts are not welcome here.

      Why not write your own article or political satire George? This offer was made to you ages ago, and it still stands.

      Finally, Aberdeen Voice is well within its rights to not publish any post or comment which may be defamatory, harrassement, or offensive in nature. We are also free to disagree with your expertise as to what is or is not libel.

      I do hope this helps.

    • Talking of defamation George:
      You should have been in Union Terrace Gardens today (Saturday). Loads enjoying themselves in the sun with entertainment laid on. Perhaps you’re due an apology to all those addicts and drunks you defamed so frequently? Not one in sight again.

  7. I’ve not been abusive at all, the content of my comments is something you disagree with, fair enough.

    Don’t twist you not wanting my opinion aired into me being abusive, we both know that isn’t true.

  8. Dearie me George. Do you actually think it’s Trump’s personal funds that are paying for Menie?? Apparently the man’s gone bankrupt in the past and pulled out of the Presidential race the moment he had to declare his financial situation.

    • It would be very, very interesting to know which individuals or companies had provided funding to Trump for the Menie project, but I strongly suspect he did this one out of his own funds. The reason I think that is because he is going to make such a massive mind boggling profit when he sells the land, which I doubt he will want to share with anyone else.

      I could be wrong of course, as it’s very difficult to imagine what goes on in the mind of someone who has (proven) connections to the Mafia.

      [slight precautionary amendment to post to observe legal boundaries – Moderator]

  9. It’s a great pity this eagerness to expose wrongdoing does not extend to the actions of AV’s own editorial team, at least some of whom could now be described, with a stretch of the imagination, as public figures. I refer, in this instance, to the speed with which a post containing a question – a question to which the answer might well have been considered damaging and/or embarrassing to Aberdeen Voice – was removed from the AV Facebook page recently. The alacrity with which the AV page admin acted (on being asked the question) might not only have been seen as embarrassing enough in itself, but might surely cause the casual observer to regard your lengthy statement to George Smith above with more than a healthy pinch of scepticism. I refer in particular to the passage containing the claim that “we have no fear of exposing… wrongdoing publicly regardless of the wrongdoer’s political leanings and/or influence.” If that is the case, then perhaps AV would care to make a public statement on the matter to which I refer, a statement already requested by a member of the public on that page? Or is this just a case of there being one rule for your targets, and quite another for your staff?

    • I assume this question is directed at myself Pete, as I am admin of the FB page. I did not reply because I did not know the answer to your question. I know now that the answer is ‘no’. No phone call took place, and no wrongdoing either. Dialogue is still open between myself and the aggrieved party, and I consider this the only healthy way to proceed.
      Have a nice day.

    • For those of you who don’t know what ‘minger’ is on about this time, some false accusations were posted on the Aberdeen Voice Facebook page by Pete Thomson ( He’d already been suspended temporarily once by Facebook for a previous libellous comment directed at me). Minger seems keen these get mentioned on my column; and I’m glad of his insistence as it gives me an opportunity to set the record straight. Here goes.

      I was accused on FB by Thomson of making a phonecall and complaining about someone, allegedly because they were critical about my writing. You might not know me personally, but I don’t work like that. For the record, no phonecall, no complaint ever happened. It appears to me as fabrication on Thomson’s part. And I happen to think a rather malicious one at that.

      If it matters, I sent a very short, polite email which asked for info. which might or might not be the basis for this accusation against me. I’d tell you more but I don’t want to risk identifying the person Pete apparently feels was the subject of my email request (my email asked about finances, how appointments including a new job were made, whether public funds were used and so on). I can tell you that someone came to me with info they quite rightly wanted investigated, and I sent a wholly polite email of about 4 sentences with no hint of a complaint in it. I send out dozens of such emails looking for info a week; hope this doesn’t shock anyone. 

      Thomson wrote in his initial FB post an account of an event that never happened which ended (I have screenshots of course) that “this [phonecall] actually took place.” By the end of the thread however, which was libellous to me and therefore removed, Thomson was instead demanding Fred confirm whether or not such a phonecall happened,. How Fred was supposed to have info on an invented accusation is another matter. (NB I don’t get to see any of Pete’s comments on FB as I blocked him long ago for what I and others saw as repeated attacks on me).

      Thomson so far refuses to apologise. I would like to say more about the ongoing criticism of me by Thomson, but can’t do so at present; I’m taking advice.

      Voice Readers might want to ask themselves who Minger is and what his or her agenda is. I’m not the greatest writer on the block, but I’m one of a small group of people trying to get truth exposed when things go wrong with city, shire, police, etc. If someone’s trying to stop me doing so, what’s behind it? What is the ultimate goal?

      Pete, Minger – you’ve seen I’m not going to stop writing. Thomson’s apology would still be appreciated for the phonecall/complaint comment. Failing that apology, then do send us all proof this phonecall and complaint happened. Since no call existed, there will be no record, no file note, no witness. Apology awaited.

      For the sake of the readers, Minger/Pete – let’s get back to making comments that are relevant to the piece of writing in question, which do not amount to more boring attacks on me personally? Perhaps a new hobby would be beneficial for you as well. Not for anything, but Pete / Minger – other people have commented that you’re starting to look a little bit obsessed.

      For the rest of you, thanks your comments, thanks for reading, and thanks for – well everything really. Maybe one day we will see the back of Pete/Minger; maybe not. But for those of you who keep reading, and because of those who give me reason to write, I’m going to keep carrying on. Cheers, Old Susannah aka Suzanne Kelly.

  10. Are you intending publishing the above comment or not, Fred?

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