Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.
There is a video of them having an interesting little chat with one man from Sea Shepherd; clearly there are some colourful vocabulary words in that video being used by the men with guns which sadly are not suitable for definition here.
Anyway, USAN’s people want to shoot seals from private land, and the landowner isn’t having it.
For some reason, not all of the locals and the tourists are that pleased to see men in high viz running around with rifles slung over their shoulders cursing at their opponents.
Salmon stocks are considerably down in some rivers; farmed salmon live in incredibly cramped, cruel conditions (with sea lice painfully biting through their skin to the bone), and seals are on a downward population curve as well. Let’s therefore catch all the salmon we can, blast the seals through the head with shotguns, and make money selling smoked salmon to Norway and China.
That’s the entrepreneurial spirit we’re all so proud of. And I wouldn’t worry – we will always have massive fish stocks, and quotas are wholly unnecessary. The only problem is that we also have people who, for whatever reason, want to visit Scotland to look at the seals, birds, fish and cetaceans. These people spend in the region of £65 million pounds ever year.
Many of these people are from the UK. Why they can’t just stay home and watch a wildlife programme on television like everyone else is a mystery. But apparently walking around in non-polluted air, getting exercise and a little sunlight are good for health. Who’d have thought it?
Clearly, few people in Aberdeen City planning think green spaces have any worth; our green spaces are being eroded. New homes are springing up in fields (like the wildflowers and mushrooms that used to); at least they’re all extremely tasteful, unique, and profitable to the builders. Brownfield waste ground is, er, going to waste.
Thankfully we’re going to tear down one of Torry’s remaining granite gems, Victoria Road School. With luck, we’ll get an office building with a glass façade. If you wanted to visit Loirston Loch before all the land around it is built up, get in there quick. How the wildlife, especially migrating birds, will manage is another matter.
And yes, there are tourists who actually come here to Aberdeen to look at wildlife. For now, anyway.
In Tullos, the city has given back the parking area that used to service Tullos Hill. It had been gifted to the city – but we took such bad care of it it’s been clawed back by the public sector.
We were unable to stop travelling people from trashing the area and so we closed the parking off rather than guarding it properly. It fell apart. So rather than having a welcoming visitor parking area for Tullos Hill, we will now have private parking (and we lose one path to the hill as well). I’m sure there were many public consultations widely publicised, but funny, I just didn’t see them.
I’m likely to get an asthma attack now that I’ve suddenly developed asthma
Between new offices and homes by Loirston Loch and new offices in Altens, I predict there may be one or two more cars on Wellington Road. The planners seem to think we’ve little to worry about in terms of pollution – or they’d not have given this the green light. For some reason, Aberdeen has some of the worst air pollution in Scotland.
Could there be a link between air pollution, hundreds of cars and decreasing green spaces?
I wouldn’t worry about it. I can’t actually – or I’m likely to get an asthma attack now that I’ve suddenly developed asthma. UK deaths with a connection to air pollution should not be a consideration when we have offices to build and roads to create. In fact, we’re only talking about 28,000 air pollution-related deaths a year.
But back to more positive stuff. The Palma Violets were amazing in The Tunnels; I wish I could show you my photos, but they’ve disappeared into the either when I tried to transfer them. Then again, when the band started, it was hard enough not to get trampled let alone take good pics; respect to the photographers who manage it. The crowd was wild.
A slightly more restrained crowd greeted The Temperance Movement in The Lemon Tree on the 26th April. This is my favourite up and coming band; the place was packed, and everyone sang along to all the songs (more on this later).
But my real brush with a superstar came this past Monday; I was selected to join a teleconference with…. David Cameron! Well, me and a thousand other people. I may never wash my phone ear again. I’d hate anyone to be jealous; I’d equally hate anyone to think I’m a cynic. However, if it was 100% live, then Cameron did very well indeed.
His opening remarks on this Europe-themed chat were perfectly spoken and very well timed and phrased. The questions when I was still on the call were, would you believe it, all very sympathetic to the Conservatives. It looks like we’re being promised a referendum on whether or not to stay in the EU. But fear not, it’s years away.
One of the questioners asked how we stop benefit scroungers coming from Europe. Perhaps I missed something, but I don’t recall Cameron objecting to the phrase ‘benefit scroungers’.
the news seems dominated by people and organisations in power who know what’s best for us
We can’t have people coming over here and asking for money. This is a capitalist country. You have to first have lots of money, then avoid paying tax on it by sending it offshore. This is good for the banks. Well, the food banks anyway.
While these hoards of Euro benefit scroungers are coming here, the likes of Bernie Ecclestone managed to avoid over one billion pounds in tax according to the BBC. Somehow, they never got round to letting me ask a question. As thrilling as this call was, I was too heartbroken realising I’d not speak to DC myself, so I rang off. That, and it was time for a beer.
This past week (and longer), the news seems dominated by people and organisations in power who know what’s best for us and want to set the collective moral compass to point where they say it should.
Farage and his crew know that god disapproves of gays. Alex Salmond thinks we should admire Putin (also not known for being fond of gays). Alas! Even BrewDog has come under fire for setting a bad example. So who are these bastions of what’s morality? Here are a few definitions to help.
The Portman Group: (Modern English Noun)
Self appointed alcohol regulatory body formed by private drinks companies.
BrewDog are in the doghouse; they’ve had a letter from The Portman Group telling them to be good dogs. BrewDog however did not roll over, and sent a slightly scathing reply, telling Portman to clear off (although BrewDog’s language was a bit more colourful).
So, what is The Portman Group? According to their website, it :-
“…was established in 1989 by the UK’s leading alcohol producers. Its role was to promote responsible drinking; to help prevent alcohol misuse; and to foster a balanced understanding of alcohol-related issues. The name derives from the fact that the early meetings to launch the organisation took place at the Guinness offices in Portman Square, London.
“In 1996, the Portman Group took on the additional role of encouraging responsible marketing when, in response to fierce criticism of ‘alcopops’, it launched its Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Merchandising of Alcoholic Drinks.
“The Code has since been expanded to cover other forms of promotion, including websites, sponsorship, branded merchandise and sampling, and is widely credited with raising standards of marketing responsibility across the industry.”
I do just have one question. If the group exists in part to raise ‘standards of marketing responsibility’ Old Susannah wonders where the Portman Group was when Diageo tried to steal an award from BrewDog at a ceremony by fixing the result? Perhaps they are concerned with raising only some companies’ standards.
Oddly, this private group’s lofty moral goals haven’t really hit its members very much. The Portman Group started in the Guinness offices, but beer was not all that was brewing. How very fitting that concurrent with TPG’s birth, a Guinness-related massive fraud scandal came to light.
Who can doubt the moral authority of the police?
Its details are colourful, and about as clear as a glass of the Liffey water itself. For one thing, Ernest Saunders, one of the defendants, managed to become the only person in history to have managed to recover from Alzheimer’s.
He was given a reduced sentence because of his reduced mental capacity. Once freed, his mind sprang back to sufficient condition to be able to run businesses. Isn’t it amazing what kind of cures money can buy?
I’m sure TPG isn’t remotely worried by the antics of the country’s fastest-growing beverage company, and this current threat by letter to Martin and James is not an attempt to derail an amazingly successful marketing campaign which can’t be helping TPG’s own member companies. It’s just that The Portman Group want everyone to be as moral as their own members are. Cheers.
Stop and Search Powers: (Modern English compound noun) – rights granted to police to stop and search anyone they choose.
Who can doubt the moral authority of the police? Who can question that? (Well perhaps the Guildford 4, the Birmingham 6, the plebgate politician, George Copeland, the Stephen Lawrence family…). The bad news is that the ConDems are going to possibly curtail (to a degree) the rights of the police to stop and search anyone they choose.
Part of the reason we’re so safe now is that the police can detain anyone they like. This is what keeps our streets free of crime.
There may be a tiny discrepancy in the kind of people who get ‘randomly’ searched – most belong to ethnic minorities. It’s almost as if there were institutionalised racism endemic in the police (or so former officer Gurpal Virdi might think – he was accused of sending out racist messages from his computer, usually when he wasn’t even around).
This spurious charge of institutionalised racism is just about one year old, so I’m sure it’s all been cleared up by now.
Teresa May, darling of the front benches, says that about 27% of the police searches made under stop and search laws were potentially illegal. If the figure is really only that low, perhaps we should just let them get on with it. It’s not as if the police are arbitrarily flexing their muscles and intimidating people, is it?
I’m afraid that’s all the morality I can stand at the moment, or I’d have defined some terms on Tony Blair, UKIP, and so on. Let’s all try to remember to learn from our betters, and be moral, upstanding citizens. If you can’t do that, then just try and avoid random stop and searches.
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