Jun 202014

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

DictionaryIt may seem like a lovely summer here in Aberdeen, but depending on  who you believe, we need to be on the lookout for dangerous foreign invaders of all kinds. Our lives, jobs and even our gardens are not safe from alien interlopers of one sort or another. More on that later.

However, along with locals and even some foreigners, I’ll brave the ever-present dangers to go to both the Gray’s School of Arts Degree show (Friday) and BrewDog’s Annual General Meeting (Saturday).

Apparently something is taking place in Brazil; it involves a bunch of foreigners getting together to play football.

This kind of foreign invasion is a good thing; it brings lots of investment apparently, unless you’ve the misfortune to be one of Brazil’s poor who are being turfed out of the makeshift homes that stand in the way of the beautiful game. 

Still, FIFA knows what’s best. That nice Mr Blatter does seem to have one or two critics of late; I can’t imagine why.

Let’s look at these foreign threats by way of a definition or two.

Foreign intervention: (Mod English Phrase) – An involvement in a sovereign state’s affairs by another state, body or army.

Back in the day, you may remember how the US and the UK kindly went to help make things better in Iraq. Tony Blair said our little intervention was the right thing to do; he should have known – he wrote most of the dossier supporting the case for us getting in there.

I can’t imagine why, but things don’t seem to have worked out quite like Tony said they would. He wants us to go back in, or rather to bomb a few people. We’ve never gone wrong listening to him in the past perhaps we should do as he says now.

There was a tiny parade of a million or so people in London back in the day, asking him not to go to war, but he bravely stood his ground, and took us to where we are today. Remember, it’s only a foreign invasion if it’s happening in the UK, not if it’s the UK going somewhere else and lending a friendly helping hand.

It’s important to remember there are good foreigners and bad ones.

The good ones want to come over and buy up our land, utilities, newspapers and other media, and of course businesses. The bad ones want to come over and work for us, live in decent rooms without getting ripped off, be treated fairly and other unreasonable demands. It’s very important to remember too that all of the rich ones are not involved in crime, and all of the non-wealthy immigrants are criminals.

We’re open for business – if you’ve got the right connections. Thankfully, we have all sorts of level-headed politicians looking out for our interests.

And UK residents who live abroad? Well, we’re not invading foreigners – we’re expats. That’s different.

But possibly the worst kinds of foreigners are the ones that are set to take over.

Romanians: (Proper noun) People born in, living in, or descended from citizens of Romania.

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, has seized on yet another group of foreigners that we must be wary of, the wily, dangerous Romanians.  Here’s a little clip of Nigel explaining all to Jeremy Paxman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynq_KqlmHIY .

Nigel explains that Romanian organised criminals are the most prolific and dangerous in Europe. Paxman then quotes some statistics saying they’re no such thing. Paxman asks more questions; Farage gives brilliant answers that are not at all xenophobic, reactionary or racist. Farage worries that Romanian hordes will come to the UK and we’ll be inundated with their organised crime gangs.

It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will any day.

Paxman also asks some questions about UKIP members’ homophobic statements; Farage explains this is all down to the fact the members in question are old, and from a time when homosexuality was illegal – so it’s fair enough if they’re anti-gay. I’m sure you’re as happy as  I am with UKIP’s recent political gains. I wonder what’s next for this forward-looking, inclusive, tolerant party?   In the meantime forget about the politicians taking more than their share of expenses, billionaires avoiding taxes that should support our infrastructure – it’s Romanians we should be thinking about.

Invasive species: (Modern English compound noun) Flora and Fauna not native to the UK but which can be found here.

They’re over here, and they will soon outnumber their British counterparts. We’ve heard about the muntjack deer – dubbed the ‘Asbo’ deer by one of our SNH experts, publicity-shy Jamie.

But now an imminent scientist – who isn’t at all a headline-grabbing empire builder – has identified ‘the biggest threat to our ecology’.

Is it urban sprawl and the loss of green space in favour of tarmac? Is it that Scotland’s roads exceed acceptable levels of pollution for many years? Is it climate change? The decline of bee populations which may hurt pollination and crops? Rising sea levels? Godzilla?  Mothra? Obviously not – our biggest threat is the Rhododendron.

‘Destroy All Rhododendrons in Scotland’ is the battle-cry of scientist (so he must be taken seriously and will have no ulterior motives and won’t let any personal feelings interfere with his objective, rational position) James Fenton. What are Rhododendrons to him?

“It is probably the biggest ecological issue for Scotland. If we did nothing and came back in a thousand years, the landscape would be just one dark rhododendron forest.”

Well, he’s a scientist and he says so, so that’s that. He also says this invading foreign threat creates so many seeds that its spread is exponential. Old Susannah might then wonder why we’re not already in his supposed Rhododendron forest.

I guess we’re meant to think that there have never been any plants that naturalised in the UK and that were beneficial. I guess we’re supposed to forget about all the foreign confiers planted up and down the countryside (taking away many meadowlands in the process).

I guess the fact that many of the rhododendrons that are supposed to be destroyed support wildlife that has otherwise been displaced; bees seem rather partial to the flowers for one thing. I’m sure the bee population won’t mind if we take out this source of food immediately. No, Mr Fenton sounds completely calm, rational and logical to me.

Thankfully, he also seems to be something of an economics expert. For funnily enough, there’s money to be had by eradicating the Rhododendron Menace. According to the Herald article:

“The plant has been eradicated from some areas, including Knoydart in the West Highlands, where £250,000 in grants paid for a ten-year programme using local workers. Fenton said an eradication programme would boost the economy of rural areas.”

Funnily enough, the SNH will soon release its Rhododendron strategy.

Funnily enough, every time the SNH comes up with a new animal or plant to demonise, they also want to demand the right to tell private landowners what to do, and there is coincidentally a wee bit of money involved. Their guidelines on the deer population, including the invading threat that is the muntjack deer included a policy of ‘advising’ landowners how many deer should be slaughtered.

The landowners recently have disagreed with the SNH deer population figures, and don’t want to shoot as many deer as the SNH would like. Well, who are you going to believe – the people who are on the land and see the deer, or the guys with science degrees sitting in their offices writing papers, and getting their names into the papers who propose increasing the SNH’s powers?

These same scientists came up with the earth-shattering guideline that if a doe is shot, any fawns should be shot as well or they may starve. This came as a huge revelation to the people on the front lines of deer management; they’d never have guessed it.

Perhaps I’m wrong to see a pattern here, but it seems

1.  boffins get together and write a policy.

2.  the policy identifies a species of plant or animal that the SNH wants to get rid of or greatly curtail.

3.  articles appear in the media, happily going along with what the SNH wants.

4.  guidelines tell public and private sectors that they ‘should’ manage the plant/animal in question.

5.  grants spring up like mushrooms to help destroy the offending natural life form.

6.  guidelines turn into laws wit the SNH demanding control over private lands irrespective of the landowner’s own observations and wishes.

As the asthma and respiratory disease rates increase (and a link between dementia and particulate pollution has just been made), as green spaces disappear (or become nothing more than petri dishes for whatever style of land management is in vogue at the time), as the seas are increasingly polluted, as the bird, fish and bee populations diminish, it’s good to know that the real culprit in our environment’s destruction has been identified: death to all Rhododendrons.

Of course Fenton’s offered no explanation of what will become of the species now depending on the plant, or what will go in place of the destroyed invaders (perhaps we’ll just have holes in the ground). But he can’t be expected to think of everything, can he.

Old Susannah’s out now to look for Romanian crime gangs, Rhododendrons and other invading species. By the time I make it to my front door, I half expect that the ‘exponentially increasing’ Rhododendrons will have covered my street, but I’ll try and hack my way through the foliage, mindful that Romanian thieves may well be hiding in the boughs.

Thank goodness we have Fenton and Farage to look out for our welfare and propose sensible reforms.

Next week:  a report on the Rhododendron crisis, and an analysis on how many new plants have sprung up.

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  6 Responses to “Old Susannah No. 154 – Foreign Invaders”

  1. Some choice topics this week Suzanne. Football doesn’t interest me in the slightest, so I’ll skip that one.

    Invasions are somewhat different. We’ve “invested” billions in supposedly “helping” those poor individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Very benevolent. Where did it get us? Well we seem to back to square one in the latter and the former was un-winnable in the first place. The poppy growers and heroin dealers triumphed. All we seem to have achieved is making life a lot more dangerous for ourselves, viz a viz 7/7 etc.

    Deer need managed. That’s a fact of life. The problem is, as usual, the “experts” simply choose to ignore those who have successfully managed the species for generations – making a good few quid in the process.

    Rhoddies are bonnie and, as you quite rightly say help our buzzing friends survive while we merrily go on our way trying to eradicate them with pesticides etc to enhance food production. The plant species has been known to be invasive for many’s a long year and there have been many interventions to stop it’s spread, some more effective than others. To eradicate it is going a wee bittie over the top however. Now giant hogweed would be a much better target methinks.

    Romanians? Some years ago I flew, on a number of occasions with that country’s flag carrying airline, Tarom, to far off destinations. They were actually quite good, as airlines go. The lye over, in Bucharest, was spent in the cafe/bar in the airport where I had an interesting chat with one of the waiters. Expressing an interest in future exploration of his homeland, I was strongly advised not to. “Don’t leave the capitol,” I was told. “You will put yourself at risk.” Enough said. But, in saying that, every nation has it’s dodgy characters. Here in Aberdeen we have more than a couple of crime clans of local descent, so we have no room to talk really. Nigel Farage is an “English” phenomenon with little support north of Hadrian’s Wall. The main danger he poses to Scots is that if we fail to support independence, he may bring about the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and that would be disastrous for Scotland methinks. A bit of a dinosaur is our Nige. He could bring about the situation where those south of the border heartily sing, “Rule Brittannia!!” while the nation sinks beneath the waves instead of ruling them. Just a thought!

    • Farage has no support in Scotland?? hahaha

      Did you miss the European election results? support is huge for a grassroots party, UKIP are being supported for a reason, they address peoples real concerns, the main left wing parties are being found out. Huge debt, mass uncontrolled immigration, illegal wars, the Country has had enough.

      • Well, let’s put it this way Bill: In Scotland, UKIP’s showing was pretty poor, compared to south of the border, down Watford way. Maybe we’re a more tolerant society in Scotland? If the UK pulls out of the EU, how many multi-nationals, who chose to locate in the UK as a gateway to Europe, would hang about? Millions of jobs could be lost to the indigenous population. Is that really what you want? My guess is that you’re right to a degree. Voters are dissatisfied with the mainstream parties and cast a protest vote. Will it recur at the next general election? Doubtfull, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Mass hysteria has been drummed up by Mr Farage and co, along with the tabloid press. Remember when he told us all that all of the population of theses countries would descend on us en masse?? Did it happen?

  2. Sorry but you can’t hide from the facts here, over 80% of all shoplifting crime in London is carried out by Eastern Europeans, many many of those are Romanians. The more who come over the worse the problem gets, I said London but this story is replicated all over the Country, particularly the south of England. Many of these people have no intention of ever working here, what do you propose we do those types? I won’t even mention the human trafficking or prostitution gangs that are all predominately Eastern Europeans.

    If they come to Aberdeen where do you propose we house them? we don’t have enough social housing for the indigenous people, actually we have a massive shortage, you can throw the racist card all you like but face facts, the Country simply isn’t in a position where any more immigrants can be provided for.

    I agree on your comments re the Roddies, have never heard of them being a problem before, a lovely shrub.

    • “the indigenous people”. You’re a caird min Bill, brilliant.

      How big is this racist card you want throwing at you, IMO ye cliché-ridden, statistic inventing, xenophobe? I’m nae that strong ye see, unlike those burly looking eastern europeans flooding the city.

  3. Look at the court rolls for Aberdeen. The majority appearing in the Sheriff Court are local/UK residents. I’m not saying the problem doesn’t exist but it’s miniscule here compared to London and the South East. Changes to the benefits system have been put in place so those you complain about have to wait a fairly lengthy time to claim benefits.That’s fair and just. But UK citizens can hop over to mainland Europe and claim their much higher benefits as well remember.

    On housing: Yes, there is a dearth of social housing. Why? Remember which government sold off council houses at knockdown prices and refused to build replacements? It wasn’t the SNP who have actually started a large scale rebuilding programme for social housing, not Labour or the Tories in Westminster. It would appear independence, while not the be all and end all, is a potential way forward in that and many other regards.

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