Aug 232013

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

I had a break last week, and spent a great deal of time on GISHWHESH (greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen).  This is the annual international scavenger hunt / charity / random acts of kindness event.

There will be a television programme eventually, after judges and show host Misha Collins pour through thousands of homemade videos and photographs, created by people all over the world.
Thanks very much to everyone on my team and who helped me here in Aberdeen. Pensioners and veterans were helped by thousands of GISHWHESH participants, who also had fun engaging in crazy (harmless) stunts.

If you saw a giant asparagus spear being thrown as if it were a caber, then that would have been down to us.

Many thanks to Under the Hammer, North Silver Street, for having me and Neale Bothwell hang some of our recent paintings; and thanks to Mrs B for some amazing canapés.  The show is up for another fortnight in case you’re interested.

After GISHWESH I went to BrewDog this Monday, expecting a quiet drink and to do some writing.  However, brewers from  Oskar’s in Denver, Colorado were being celebrated and the place was packed.  It was nice to meet the brewers; BrewDog often have guest beers, and invite the brewers over to visit.

Oskar’s have a particularly nice, varied range on offer in BrewDog; I recommend their port-barrel brew.  Nice people, great beers, wonderful conversations.  And all the best to Kenny in your studies.

Anyway, I was astonished to see an Evening Express headline on the 19th “Crime Doesn’t Pay – NE Crook Still to cough up £1 million.” 

Naturally my first thought was that the Evening Express had turned coat on its friend Stewart Milne.  It turns out they were referring to some  crook that owes the council less money.

It seems a collection of dodgy master criminals from fraudsters to illegal fishermen owe lots of money, and we may try and collect it.  Hopefully it will take less time and taxpayer money to get money from them than it will from Stewart Milne.

It’s quite a coincidence that this recent pro granite web puffery that’s blown Syria, Egypt and other issues off the P&J’s lead pages has also stopped the AJL press from saying much about Stewart Milne.  I guess, “millionaire builder and ACSEF member finally forced to pay City back for dodgy land deal”, is not as important as, “billionaire still wants granite web and is throwing a tantrum yet again”.

Since the P&J don’t have enough space to devote to Stew, I’ll be happy to step in to support them, and tell you all about it.

Time for some definitions.

Master Thief: (compound English noun) someone with plans to steal item(s) of value, often through fraud, confidence trickery, smooth talking, persuasion

He might not have been much good as a joiner, but our very own Stewart Milne nearly made the Master Thief Hall of Fame.  If you’ve forgotten, the old city council regime decided it would be wonderful to sell him land in Westhill for a fraction of the value, then sit back and get a share of the sale proceeds when the land was either developed or sold on for a vast profit.

What were they thinking?’”, an unkind soul might wonder.

I’m sure it made perfectly good sense not to sell the land on the open market, getting a profit from a fair sale price.  Instead, our canny then government decided to sell this land to Stew when he and his companies were winning bids for work from the city, by putting in lower bids than any other competitor could match.

The city for some reason fought very hard to reveal the property deals

What Stew did next was brilliant.  He sold the land all right – for a loss – from one arm of his empire to the other. Despite his dragging the city (and thus the happy taxpayer) through to the highest court in the land, he’s still a lovable rogue, and we continue to give  him money for houses, and pay to go see AFC play.

If you wish to refresh your mind on the details, this may help  The city for some reason fought very hard to reveal the property deals; I can’t think why.

It’s almost as if he were being handed a profitable land deal with no one else being considered for it when at the same time that profit could provide a handy offset for the low bid work.  It would be interesting to go back and look at the cost over-runs if any for the work he had been awarded.  When I get a moment, I just might do that.

By the way, around this time, Audit Scotland couldn’t figure out whether Aberdeen City Council was incompetent – or something worse.  It seems to be true that if you steal something small you go to jail; if you steal something big you get away with it.

Some heartless people are saying he should be thrown out of ACSEF.  Surely though, being conniving, money-hungry, duplicitous and having no respect for taxpayer money are prerequisites for ACSEF membership, not reasons to be expelled from this respected quango.  Stew doesn’t have to cough up until the end of this year; doubtless he will want to pay sooner.

Master Plan: (Compound English Noun) An overriding scheme.

When not stealing money from us, Stewart Milne has devoted his time to ACSEF, and to going to the press last week to tell Aberdeen City it needs a masterplan.  He wasn’t trying to deflect attention away from his financial activities, I’m sure.

Here’s to seeing the details of the Milne Masterplan

Presumably Milne’s master plan will involve renovating existing buildings, bringing brownfield sites back into use, and regenerating empty, urban spaces.  His most recent contribution to a master plan looks to some like urban sprawl.  His homes near the Cove Roundabout are the most perfect family dwellings you can imagine.

The air quality at rush hour may play havoc with junior’s asthma, but that’s just a small price to pay to live in the lap of luxury.  Just don’t let the cat out of the front yard, don’t let junior fly his kite close to the electricity substation or the dual carriage way, and for heaven’s sake don’t come home in the dark or tipsy.  For all the houses look eerily similar, and you could wind up in the wrong one.

Ah, it all made so much more sense when he thought he’d pave over Loirston Loch.

Here’s to seeing the details of the Milne Masterplan.  I can hardly wait.

Mastermind: (noun) A gifted person who supplies the strategy for a project or job.

Step forward Mr S McGee, recently arrested here in the Deen.  During the course of his discussion with the police, he decided it would be a great idea to spit blood at them.  Strangely, this plan didn’t endear the police to him.  Oh well, I guess you can’t always guess what’s the right way to behave.

Masterpiece: (noun) An outstanding work of art of great skill and quality.

You will be as glad as I am that all the renaissance of interest the P&J has for the Granite Web means we can see some artwork which is truly iconic, vibrant, dynamic, connected, etc. etc. fit for a smart successful Scotland.  Yes, those beloved drawings of the Granite Web in its acid tones are back.

The giant floating boy hovering over the outsized flowers; the woman reclining at a 45 degree angle on the wedge of grass-topped concrete floating over the outdoor stage; the bosque; the whole lot is back.  £5 says there will be another picture or two in tomorrow’s P&J.

I am sure the granite web would have looked exactly like the lovely drawings.  No graffiti, no litter, no drunks (which apparently come from the park and fill the high street in the hundreds when it’s Saturday night; where else would these people come from?), no one throwing  things from the apex of the daring web.

Then again, the drawings don’t show us the minor details.

No means of ventilating the underground car park, no explanation as to how trees will grow in shallow soil over the underground car park, no hint of any safety features over the web or protecting the outdoor stage (my favourite; I was so hoping to hear a Beautiful South cover band in February while I sat in the seats, surrounded by hundreds of Aberdonians and high-spending tourists ).

No – that’s what’s best about these masterworks – they leave the little details like those to the imagination.

And there we leave it for now; I have just a little bit of work to do regarding that nice Mr Trump and his course.  I wonder – do you think he’d consider putting a granite web over his MacLeod course?  I’m sure it would look as elegantly classic as anything else built there so far.

Next week – more definitions, and if the P&J print more pro-web news, I’ll happily stay on the bandwagon as long as they do.

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

  24 Responses to “Old Susannah No. 130 – The Masters”

  1. Dearie me Suzanne. Poor wee Stuartie. The man’s lost maist of his hair on his headlong rush to fill his various bank books to ensure a long and happy retirement. Should we really be so hard on him? After all, it’s the norm,nowadays, to rip off everyone in sight, especially local authorities and, let’s face it, our’s has a long history of selling off it’s assets at well below market value.

    Got to agree with you in regard to Sir Ian’s continued obsession with Granite Webs. He seems to have forgotten about his pledge to, “walk away,” if the public didny like his master plan. Remember all the “consultations,” where anyone going against the proffered edifice was simply ignored? Then there was the “referendum” where, apparently, 20% of the electorate voting in favour of something which had neither been formalised, with content set in stone – sorry,”granite” – and costed, accurately, to the last penny,, with no potential for The City being left to hold the baby if the bathwater ran out appears to be a massive majority in favour. Wonder if that vote could possibly have been rigged? I mean, if one side manages, in various dubious ways, to pour funding in, well over and above that allowed for referenda, could that be, ever so slightly, be construed as an unequal bias?

    Of course, Sir Ian’s benevolence must be welcomed. His dictatorial stance on how the money must be spent is not. His recent comments in the illustrious P&J asserted that,”road, air and sea transport,” to our magnificent city must be improved. Perhaps he could allow his benevolence to be utilised to that end? Aberdeen Crossrail springs to mind, along with “The Haudupagain,” upgrade. I am sure these improvements would benefit the good citizenry more than filling Union Terrace Gardens with concrete and turning it in to Teletubbyland. But , then again, when the oil and gas run out, we would all have someplace to relax, maybe even beg, because half the populace will be unemployed, apparently, and living, hand to mouth, on benefits (if they still exist). A crumbling, concrete edifice, filled with dying trees etc, is just the place indeed for the great and the good to stroll through and drop the odd pound coin in to the polystyrene cups being proffered by the less fortunate.

    • You would trust Barney with £50 Million pounds? lol

      I wouldn’t trust him to run my bath let alone a City regeneration program, and as it is Mr Woods money he has every right to say how it should be spent.

      You omit to mention the only fair referendum was won with a clear majority who were in favour of the CGP, you objectors just hate that fact and try every dirty tactic to try and discredit it, you can’t accept that other people in the City have differing opinions to you, even then you still think your way is the best as you believe you’re more educated than the oiks who voted yes, makes me ill the attitude of the far left in our City. They stay in luxury yet play at being socialists, we called them snotty when I was a kid, know it alls.

      • George,
        I am beginning to feel sorry for you. You come across as being consumed with hatred against anyone who doesn’t see things your way. All the referendums were fair but unfortunately the SNP led council declared before the
        last referendum took place that it was not binding. Where is the fairness in that? A pointless exercise in my book. You still seem to be seeing “Commies under the bed”. You certainly would have been at home in the company of Senator Joe McCarthy.

      • Perhaps you should have read the letters page in a recent addition of the P&J George. One eminently sensible lady suggested that, if a compromise had been reached, covering the rail and road to increase green space, everyone would have been happy. Shame Sir Ian couldn’t compromise or the whole sorry saga could have been averted.

        Since when did a 20% vote in favour of anything become an overwhelming majority George? Are you actually saying that that the referendum was fair after it was proved financial bias was overwhelming? You also neglect to mention the small matter that the public, overwhelmingly, threw out The Granite Web at public consultation. What’s the point of consulting to ignore the result I wonder? Could it be there were ulterior motives ta play? Perhaps a 5 star hotel or another shopping mall in the fullness of time when the concrete began to crumble?

  2. [ Post removed. Read carefully before making such overtly defamatory remarks – Moderator]

    • Would you mind emailing the post back to me so I can rewrite, didn’t realise i’d been defamatory, apologies if anyone was offended by the content.

      [ Arranging this now – Moderator ]

      • George:

        “….didn’t realise i’d been defamatory….”

        You’ve been picked up on this quite a few times in previous editions, is the message not getting through?

      • IJM,

        On rereading the article I posted I can let you know that it wasn’t defamatory, I have a great deal of experience in this law and successfully defended myself in a court of law on the matter. Unfortunately the interpretation of the law appears to differ from person to person.

        I thank you for your wise words though, although you might be better reading the alleged defamation before commenting in the future.

      • Hello George, at the risk of boring Voice readers who’ve already got the message, it is not your belief of what is/ isn’t defamatory that matters, it is ours. This message has been past to you previously. Some of the recent comments I saw of yours were, in my opinion absolutely defamatory. Congratulations on you – you defended yourself successfully in a defamation case in the past. I on the other hand don’t wish to wind up in court defending, thanks very much.

      • As I said Suzanne, the interpretation of the law differs from person to person, If I was editor here I wouldn’t have included some of the comments you attributed concerning Mr Milne, you obviously think they’re ok so fair enough, to be honest the readership here is so small bringing a case would hardly be worthwhile.

        Regardless, as ever it’s your paper and you can publish what you like, it is my opinion you’re more likely to chop posts from those not agreeing with the author but again that’s just my opinion and your prerogative to edit as you see fit.

        You should perhaps read the judges findings in the case I was involved in, it may provide a little more insight into defamation laws on the internet, I know it has been used as case law in several cases since.

        BTW It should be passed, not past.

      • yes, you are right; it should have been ‘past’; it’s almost as if I were concentrating on more important things.

      • George, there are reasons why some of your recent posts were not included. The following will help you determine these, and to understand why no explanation was given on these latest edits.

        Defamation is not the only reason for removing posts. Gratuitous insults, Spamming or repetition ( ie. repeatedly stating the same as has been contributed in previous posts … eg. how many times now have you told us you went to the international market and found UTG empty? ), posts which are not relevant to the actual article, posts which add nothing to the debate other than which suit your own agenda ( eg that everyone who disagrees with you is a ‘champagne socialist’, far left activist etc ).

        Posts being overly personal/personalised. Accusing others of acting in accordance with a particular motive/agenda ( which, unless substantiated, appears to exist in your own version of reality ), presenting untruths as fact, presenting opinion as statements of fact, casting aspertions on fellow posters on issues which have little or mo relevance to the article, and generally being unnecessarily unpleasant towards others.

        Furthermore, if anyone is found to be member, associate, supporter or representative of a group/organisation which promotes/advocates discrimination/hatred/exploitation on the grounds of religion, race/ethnic background, sex, age, or nationality, they will be permanently blocked from posting.

        You have 153 posts approved, and very few have been removed or amended. Many of your 153 approved posts have actually been passed in spite of having breached the above criteria for removal/moderation, and all so we could be seen to be inclusive.

        We have reached a point now where we have given you more guidance than we have felt the need to give even to any single article writer, and have attempted to offer an explanation for every single edit, from the slightest, to complete removal.

        You may well have successfully defended a defamation case, but you appear to have learned little from it. We have gone out of our way to provide guidance rather than not have your input included in our comments sections, and feel that we have done more than enough, and certainly well beyond our obligations.

        Therefore, you will no longer receive the favourable treatment which we have not felt the need to offer other posters, and you will no longer have a moderator spend time and effort explaining every single edit – except in cases where the edit required is minor, and we believe the quality of information/argument you offer is significantly higher than average ( for you as well as others ).

        You are of course still welcome to contribute your comments, but if you wish to see all of your comments published, in their entirity, you will do well to stay on topic, deal in verifiable facts, soundly based opinion, and be significantly more respectful towards fellow posters.

    • Editor,

      I am repeating the same comments some weeks as it’s the same arguments and articles that are appearing weekly, anti Trump and anti CGP.

      I also go out of my way to be courteous to people regardless of their view, me having a differing view has singled me out for special treatment. I note you have alluded to the old EDL red herring, liking a comment on a facebook page years ago does not make me associated.

      I suspect most of the people who post here are friends, if you want left in peace to pat yourselves on the back then I’d suggest making your paper a members only closed shop, if you want the view of the average man in the street then keep as is.

      I’ve done nothing to warrant this attention except disagree with the content of the articles, these are subjects I feel strongly on, if you don’t wish to read my comments then go ahead and block me. I won’t be bullied because of my beliefs.

      • George, we are simply asking you to observe criteria which apply to all, although it appears few others need to be reminded of these

        If your problem is with having your posts moderated, then I suggest you stick to the football forums. It would appear they are less concerned about what you post publicly.

  3. Para 2 – “pore”, not “pour.
    Para 4 – sentence needs a complete re-think – unless you actually WERE a giant asparagus spear?
    Para 6 – “quiet”, not “quite”.
    Can’t be bothered reading the rest.

    • Thanks Annabel. I hold my hands up and admit that there has been a drop in sub-editing quality this week. the reason for that is because I had a problem with my email that I was not aware of until late last night, meaning that my communications and requests to subeditors had not been sent, and I had to do the vast majority of the subediting, as well as the layouts, the image processing, the editing and the publishing on my own between 10pm and around 5.30am in order to get the articles out.

      It’s not a situation I have ever found myself in before, and hope never to repeat 🙂

      You are not the only one who has pointed out errors, and to those others I am equally grateful. I will go and make those amendments now…. thanks again.

      • Hi Fred, I’d be very happy to help with subbing. Let me know if you need a hand.

    • Annabel – well done on the important task of spotting some typos and grammatical errors.

      Now, any thoughts on some of the really important issues in hand?

      • You pull me up for having posts removed and now have a go at Annabel, how about posting your views instead of wasting peoples time.

        Thank you.

      • George:

        So apparently I’m “…wasting people’s time”.

        Looking further up this thread, the moderators have had to spend some time addressing your previous postings, so I think you could be regarded as somewhat high-maintenance…

        You claim that “…I have a great deal of experience in this law…”. I would suggest that someone with reaaonable knowledge of law would be able to post online without ringing any alarm bells with the moderators?

        As for Annabel’s earlier posting – well, as the EE and P&J do not seem to give a balanced coverage of various issues, I welcome the additional information provided by AV. (I suspect you probably don’t though).

        AV writers have made available a lot of information for the public to digest, that likely won’t be appearing in the EE/P&J.

        And all Annabel can be bothered with is some typos/grammatical issues?

      • I have a simple solution for all you people so concerned with what the P&J and the EE write, don’t buy the papers!

        There, problem solved.

        I can’t recall the last time I bought either.

        If you think the answer with a biased paper (in your minds) is replacing it with another biased paper then I’m afraid you can hardly sling mud at them. I’m sure I’m not the only sick of the constant anti Trump, Wood, Milne rhetoric, what started as a promising venture has sadly turned into a witch hunt. We have another anti Trump article again today, I’m not going to bother responding, its all been said before, has all became rather tedious and smacks of a personal agenda.

      • For those of you who have memories longer than a goldfish in a very small bowl, look away now.

        George – editor of P&J is married to Trump’s local VP Sarah Malone. The coverage has been bias on this and other issues. Other vantage points not particularly welcome. They have to make a profit. Aberdeen Voice – if it is sane, non-violent, factual we will print it – whatever the point of view. We don’t make money; we rely on donations. We print what comes in. Write an article George if you will, but please spare our readers the tedium of your arguments which have already been countered/explained to you ad nauseum.

      • I’m well aware who Sarah Malone is married too but I don’t see the relevance. Sorry I don’t buy into a newspaper reporting in a biased manner because one of the workers is married to someone who works at the course.

        I hope someone does do some pro articles, it would be nice to get some balance as many people in the area do support it, If I was a journalist I would myself but I don’t believe I’m qualified or skilled enough to write one.

        Sadly I’m also not a golfer so I couldn’t even do a course review, with any luck someone else will.

  4. Many thanks Suzanne, a good evening with great company was had last Monday.

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