Mar 112016

Aberdeen Voice’s Old Susannah has something of an identity crisis as her mortgage company rebrands her as ‘Elizabeth’ in a paperwork snafu. As such, we welcome Old Elizabeth’s Dictionary Corner this week. By Suzanne (?) Kelly.

DictionaryTally ho! The banks have decided that my first name isn’t Suzanne, it’s Elizabeth. That’s what the records show, so I have to prove them wrong. This error was only picked up a week ago, so I don’t expect it to be fixed any time soon.

Past signatures on mortgage papers, name on my bank account and payslips, my passport – none of this is good enough just yet for the powers that be. I may change my name; it might be easier. You’re probably as shocked to hear of a bank making any kind of mistake as I am, but apparently it does happen.

I’m beginning to think that I must be in the wrong, not them, and am going to double-check with my parents.

This past week a Florida woman who tried to teach her four year old child how to shoot a gun has been shot. Bet no one saw that coming.

This is an intolerable state of affairs; what kind of mother is this? Perhaps if she’d started him earlier, he’d have acquired more gun handling experience by now. It’s never too early to start learning to hurt or kill, is it? Call me old-fashioned, but every time I give a toddler who can’t really walk or talk a .45 six-shooter, I usually leave only one or two bullets in.

As to Mother of the Year, you’ll be happy to know that she is said to be in a stable condition. She sounds very stable to me. Of course junior might have killed himself or any surviving siblings. In the US nearly 10,000 minors are killed or injured by guns every year But that’s a small price to pay for freedom, I say.

No word on whether she’ll face any charges; hardly likely I’d think. Elsewhere in the US, if your child is stillborn, or has birth defects, you might just well find yourself in prison for murder. Oh, lest I forget – happy International Women’s Day everyone.

Closer to home, all’s well as we continue with our vibrant, dynamic public relations activities, showing the rest of the world how wonderful we are. Now that a new flight route has opened to Iceland, Visit Scotland is out there flying the Satire, waving our tax money around, and giving the VIP treatment to Icelandic Journalists. (Thank you Iain Richardson for sharing this story on Facebook).

As part of their packed itinerary, Visit Aberdeen will ensure the group enjoys ‘… a show round of Macleod House and Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie’. Now you might think that someone somewhere at Visit Scotland would think twice about promoting this particular golf course, but you’d be wrong.

Perhaps a few relevant definitions might help.

Visit Scotland: (Modern English compound noun) a Smart Successful Scotland’s Tourist arm; another unelected quango.

In the dark ages, no one came to look at Scotland’s landscapes, castles, coasts or cities. Then, we created Visit Scotland. What do they do?

“Visit Scotland works in partnership to exceed visitor expectations. Its mission is to contribute significantly to the advancement of Scottish tourism by giving it real presence in the global marketplace, benefiting the whole of Scotland.

“We’ve a wide range of stakeholders, but our activities are defined by visitors’ requirements. Everything we do is based on sound research to make sure that we stay ahead of consumers’ ever-changing needs.

“We work closely with tourism businesses and other partners to make sure that their activities are aligned with the national strategy, and that we’re all working towards a common goal.” 

It’s good to know that everything they do is based on sound research. Otherwise, locally anyway, it might look like they keep using the same venues over and over. We’ll soon find out how much money they’ve spent at Trump; I’m sure that they use all of our local hotels and golf courses on a rotational basis. After all, they are bound to be fair with the taxpayer pound.

They claim that for every pound we spend – of the $50,000,000 million pounds’ budget they have – £20 is spent on tourism in Scotland. Yes, I’m sure they are fully responsible for all tourism in the country. If not for VS, who’d have come to Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Granite City, the islands, the lochs. Well done you!

The fact that there’s a national strategy is comforting. I suppose spending our money at a venue run by arguably the West’s biggest bigot sends the message the national strategy wants to convey.

So, it’s time to round up the Icelandic journalists and show them Scotland. By going to the placid haven that is Trump’s Balmedie course. Will they stop and point out the bunds put up to try and ruin Susie Munro’s views, gardens and spirit? Will they point out where the water mains, electric and telephone services have been ‘accidentally’ cut by the Trump construction crews?

Will they discuss how this successful venue has posted a financial loss? Should be very entertaining. Perhaps the sound research needs a dusting off, as does those ever-changing needs of visitors.

Tacit Endorsement: (Compound English noun) – to imply support for a person, cause or thing by actions rather than words.

I asked Visit Scotland why they’d chosen to go with the Trump property for this visit. They replied:

“Hi Suzanne. Our work with the Trump Organisation is solely in its role as an operator of premium golf resorts in Scotland and as such we would not comment on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda. Thanks for your FOI request which we have received. A member of our corporate team will contact you directly about this in due course. Many thanks.”

I like the use of the word ‘premium.’ Well, you pay a premium for lunch there, anyway. I suggested:

“Very interesting. Visit Scotland doesn’t distinguish between Trump’s very public remarks and giving taxpayer money to his concerns, yet he’s been stripped of being a Global Scot for these remarks, as well as losing his RGU honorary degree. Perhaps time you rethink your ethics? You are of course condoning and encouraging him every time you give him our tax money, you do see that, don’t you.”

We mustn’t rush to conclusions though. Just because Visit Scotland takes people to Trump properties, spends taxpayer money at Trump properties, and endorses Trump properties is no reason to think that they are happy to have Scotland aligned with the Trump brand. Let’s wait and see if the next visiting dignitaries from the Middle East get taken to Drumpf Golf International.

I’m sure they’ll love meeting Mrs Bates to the extent that all the talk of banning Muslims and making then wear badges in the US will pass once she flashes those pearly whites.

Sure the guy wants to ban Muslims from entering the USA (Muslim American citizen population 3 to 7 million). Sure, he’s verbally waging war on Mexico, wants to bring back water boarding (nothing quite like it you’ll agree), and a bag of vipers would be kinder and more logical. But there’s money at stake. Besides which, VS would have to admit that endorsing him is a mistake.

In December last year, VS said:

“…that it has no plans to stop working with Donald Trump, despite a campaign to ban him from entering Britain because of his comments about Muslim immigration. Visit Scotland said that the tycoon’s two Scottish golf resorts were a valuable asset and attracted thousands of visitors from around the world as well as multimillion-pound investment.” 

The welfare of Scottish citizens living under the whims of Trump at Menie? Who cares? Not Visit Scotland.

Iceland Press Council: (Proper noun – er, Icelandic I guess) – a body governing principles and ethics of reporting in Iceland

This press junket whereby Icelandic writers come to Aberdeen will, I sincerely hope, involve their talking to Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s big wheels like Damian Bates. This is almost inevitable, as Sara Mrs Malone Face of Aberdeen Bates will be showing them round the Trump course. There’s just one problem.

Cultures vary widely from country to country. While we’ve gone all smart and successful here, not every country is up to our own standards. Covering up stories inconvenient to top advertisers, pushing the wife’s business interests, embellishing or suppressing stories to suit the powers that be: Iceland’s not got wise to any of these modern journalistic techniques at all.

They actually have a paper, Rules of Ethics in Journalism; it goes back to 1988. Thought I’d share some of it with you. Press and Journal; Evening Express writers may wish to look away now (if you’re still with me that is). Sorry, but I thought I’d put most of the clauses into this piece, just to show how much more advanced we are here than these idealistic Icelanders.

I’ve made a comment or two in square brackets in bold for the benefit of our local reporters, who probably need a laugh.

Clause 1. A journalist aims to do nothing which may bring his profession or professional organisation, newspaper or newsroom into disrepute. [OOPS!] He must avoid anything, which may be deleterious to public opinion of the journalist’s work, or damage the interests of the profession [OOPS!]. A journalist must always be honourable in his dealings with colleagues. [OOPS!]

Clause 3. A journalist observes the highest possible standards in gathering information, processing this information , and in presentation, and shows the utmost fact in sensitive cases [UNLESS THERE’S A GRANITE WEB, OR THE NEEDS OF AN ACSEF MEMBER AT STAKE ]. He avoids all that may cause unnecessary pain or humiliation to the innocent, or those who have suffered.

Clause 5. A journalist must do his best to avoid conflicts of interest, for instance by reporting on companies or interest groups in which he himself is involved [OOPS! – DAMIAN – ANY COMMENT?]. He must primarily serve the interests of the reader [DAMIAN?], and the honour of the journalistic profession in all that undertakes under the aegis of his job. [IS THIS OK WITH THE MISSUS’ BOSS?]

A journalist writes always on the basis of his convictions [OOPS!]. He makes sure not to confuse editorial material of clear informative and educational value, with advertising in pictorial and / or written form. [HA HA HA!] This code of ethics does not limit the freedom of expression of journalists who write, under their full name, clearly defined items in newspapers, e.g. criticism, where the writer’s personal views are of the essence. [IS THAT WHY SO MANY P&J / EE PIECES DON’T HAVE A BYLINE?]

Clause 6. Any person who believes that a journalist has offended against the above code, and whose interests are at stake, can make a complaint to the Ethics Committee of the Icelandic Union of Journalists within two months of publication, provided the item published is not the subject of court action at the same time. [REMINDS ME OF WHEN I COMPLAINED ABOUT A P&J PIECE. A FRONT PAGE AREA LABELLED ‘FACTS’ IN A HEAVY OUTLINE, CONTAINED OPINIONS. THE RELEVANT PRESS REGULATORS DECIDED THAT ANYONE WHO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE WOULD HAVE REALISED THAT THEY BOX LABELLED ‘FACTS’ WEREN’T FACTS AFTER ALL. FAIR ENOUGH]

So there you have it. Despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon taking away Donald Drumpf’s Global Scot status, despite the Open saying that they don’t want anything to do with Drumpf, Visit Scotland’s going to plough ahead promoting the Donald’s ‘premium’ clubs. I guess that national strategy they talk about doesn’t give our Nicola a look-in.

On that note, I’ll take a minute to say goodbye to one of Aberdeen Voice’s founders, David R Guthrie. He passed away after illness and a wake was held on Tuesday. A colourful writer, musician, wit, and all-round good guy, he had his reasons for helping to found Aberdeen Voice. One of those reasons was assuredly Aberdeen Journals Ltd. In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate to Aberdeen Voice.

One of the things I liked about him was his love of Union Terrace Gardens. Another thing I liked: the man was not for sale or for rent. He never got a Maserati, but he had things that were actually valuable. Good night Dave, and thanks.

You might not like Aberdeen Voice – but we’ve exposed untruths. We’ve covered important stories the local press wouldn’t touch. We’ve spoken out against people like Trump, and we’re going to keep going.

PS – I asked MP Paul Flynn how he felt now about Trump, who continues to gain in the polls, and might wind up being President. Flynn of course was on the Petitions Committee, and opened the Parliamentary debate on banning Trump. He’d taken that extra step of going to the press some 9 hours before the debate to say he didn’t believe in banning Trump for hate speech.

No, let’s just take him round my constituency, show him how multiculturalism is working, and then he’ll instantly change his way of thinking – that was Flynn’s master plan. Doesn’t seem to be working that well.

Here’s what he wrote back to me:

“There are still e-mails coming in from the US on Trump. His fans are happy but they all seem pretty stupid. Sensible Republicans are in despair. They believe that he has shamed their party. They believe that If he is the candidate, Hilary will win. I persist in the belief that a country wise enough to elect Obama twice, would be foolish enough to elect Trump once. At the moment I am very much involved in other things. Any contributions I could make in Trump’s downfall would be insignificant.” 

Well, perhaps anything he could do now would be insignificant. But when he led that debate, had he brought up all the relevant facts (including actual US violence caused by Trump’s words), and done the petition justice, I wonder where things would stand now.

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  14 Responses to “Old Elizabeth’s Dictionary Corner No. 1”

  1. The love – hate relationship between the Scottish Government, it’s publicly funded quangos and Donald Trump continues unabated. As the publicly funded VisitScotland seems to act as a full – time promoter of Trump’s business interests in Scotland and Trump’s widely publicised official “partnership” with the publicly owned Prestwick Airport appears to consist of the massive loss making operation providing free parking for Trump’s private jet and helicopter, not to mention free publicity, is it any wonder that The Donald loves to say “Yes” to such generosity whilst the Scottish Government just hates to say “No” when he comes calling.

    There can be no doubt, in my view, that the Scottish Government, and former First Minister Alex Salmond in particular, acted dishonestly and without scruple, in enabling Trump to overcome Scottish law and established democratic process, in order to build his golf resort at Menie. Now we see the Scottish Government condemn Trump publicly whilst providing public funds, from the hard pressed Scottish tax payer, to boost the business interests of Trump in Scotland. It might even be argued, particularly given the VisitScotland statements of the unique importance of the numbers of visitors to Trump resorts to the Scottish tourist industry, that the Scottish tax payers, courtesy of the Scottish Government, are helping to provide funds for Trump’s campaign of hate and ignorance as he seeks to become the next President of the United States.

    Perhaps we can take some solace in the promise of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, to turn Prestwick Airport into the first UK spaceport, leading to her government’s favourite billionaire bigot finding a new parking lot for his private aircraft somewhere in another galaxy.

  2. I believe the US of A is the only country in the world founded on
    the natural rights of man [&, to the low info. voters, that means women,
    too]. I believe that even the French constitution conforms to the general theory
    that you aint got no rights but what the Gummint says you got. The
    American view is that Nature’s God [ooh, that sounds suspiciously like
    religion!] has conferred certain rights upon all us rational beings & moreover
    that state of affairs is fixed & immutable. One of those natural rights is
    the right of self defense, both against local criminals, foreign interlopers
    [remember 1776?], & one’s own government, should it become despotic. That
    natural right is recognized, but not created, by the 2nd Amendment to the
    US Constitution. The stupid & irresponsible actions of a dummkopf mother do
    not & cannot eclipse that right. Pace, S. Kelly.

    Alba shaor abú!

    • the right to have a defensive armed militia is a different thing to what has evolved. Funny, the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ has really gone by the wayside in many areas, with the US’s police forces turning into reckless, profiteering violent thuggery in many documented cases, while people are incarcerated for minor misdemeanours (or unjustly jailed) are forced to work as veritable slave labour producing goods that can be made cheaply and sold for profit. You don’t even have the right to grow certain kinds of plants any more without expecting a police dawn raid and your children being taken into care. The whole country needs an overhaul – including gun laws. Goodness knows who our next president will be, let’s hope it’s not a profiteering, opportunist, racist bigot – Suzanne Kelly

    • Eoin,

      I thought all Americans, other than those natives who inhabited “The Americas” prior to the arrival of Columbus, Cortez et al, were “foreign interlopers”. I know this may be a ridiculous, albeit historically accurate, observation to make but then you started it.

      Incidentally, why would one assume the need to defend one’s self against another on the basis of their country or continent of origin?

      • from Suzanne – indeed. However Bruce, an interloper is a four-legged horned animal. You might mean invaders 🙂 Have a good one

      • Hi, Suzanne & Bruce. Ganging up on me, eh? Alas, I start many a donnybrook. Re:
        your point- well, of course, you’re right. Americans stole the land from the Indians, as
        England stole the land of my ancestors from the Irish, etc. Moreover, justice has never
        been done to the American Indians & that is plainly wrong. Also, the Kingdom of Hawaii
        was blatantly stolen by Americans. I think a restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty is
        feasible &, if native Hawaiians want independence they should get it. Ditto for Puerto
        Rico, Guam, the North Marianas Islands, Pago Pago, et al. I am four-square for freedom
        & justice. And I have the heart of a raparee, one of those Irish Jacobite “outlaws” who harassed the English after the Treaty of Limerick. 2 MagRaighne’s were hanged as
        raparees in 1725, by the way. And an ancestor on my mother’s side was the Fenian
        chief in Buffalo NY when, in the wake of the American Civil War, the Fenians invaded
        Canada. [1866? 7?] So write me down as a congenital rebel.

        As for the American Indians, they have been shabbily treated throughout American
        history, but I think it would be unfeasible to give the whole country back to them. However, an attempt should be made to give them their due. Justice is vital in this
        context, as always.

        As to Suzanne’s anti-American diatribe, I must confess that parts of it are quite true.
        The Power Elites worship the Almighty Dollar & corruption is endemic, at all levels.
        And strongly entrenched. The Speaker of the NY State House of Representatives &
        the Majority leader of the NY State Senate were both found guilty of corruption late
        last year and will be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment on April 13- I wonder if
        that’s a Friday. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Money talks, BS walks- that’s the
        unofficial motto of contemporary America. I think Ben Franklin or someone of that sort
        said that the US Constitution was intended for a virtuous people; although ordinary
        Americans are reasonably decent people, the power elites are woefully deficient in
        that respect- as a rule.

        Beyond all that, the government is increasingly eroding my freedom. Civil rights
        attorney Harvey Silvergate & law prof Alan Dershowitz have written a book, which
        says that there are so many Federal laws & regulations [with the force of laws] that
        the average American commits about 3 felonies per day, without even knowing it.
        So, increasingly, if the government wants to suppress a dissident, it can almost
        certainly bring the hapless citizen up on one charge or another. Truly a marvelous
        form of social control.

        The statistics on the killing of blacks by policemen are unclear, do to bad record
        keeping, but every police homicide should be fairly judged. The Policeman is generally
        friend, but rotten apples should be crucified, in my opinion. As to the charge of slave
        labor in the US of A, well Suzanne, you must be thinking of the conditions in which
        many illegal aliens must work, under the tutelage of Mexican gang enforcers. Of course,
        American business owners have been known to exploit illegal, as well. In my opinion,
        such people should be jailed- the business execs, that is. Illegals should be given their
        due, but every reasonable mitigation should be given to them, as most are just decent
        people looking to get out of the Hell hole that Mexico has become, due to the power
        & pervasiveness of the drug gangs.

      • In my last paragraph, I typed ‘do’ instead of ‘due’. My digits sometimes get ahead of
        my brain. This was one such case. May the Gods of Lexicography forgive me.

      • Bruce, I don’t quite get the meaning of your question. I do support just war, which must
        be fought for a good cause & with a rightful intention. My ancestors had the right, for example, to defend themselves against Strongbow & the Norman knights, back in AD 1169. Had they come as tourists, we could have given them a bowl of stir-about. And
        sold them a kilt.

  3. Suzanne, I’ll reply to your other points later, as I don’t have
    the time, at present. Regarding the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,
    it says, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a
    free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be
    infringed.” The meaning of the term ‘militia’, as known to those
    who wrote & ratified the US Bill of Rights, is set forth in District of
    Columbia vs. Heller [US Supreme Court, 2008], as follows,
    “the ‘militia’ comprised all males physically capable of acting
    in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that
    the Federal Government would disarm the people in order
    to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army
    or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress
    power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms,
    so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.”

    The decision.

  4. Suzanne,

    Just to “clue” you into my political views, I am sending this encapsulated
    version thereof.

    The foundation of my politics is Cicero’s famous dictum: true law is right reason in
    conformity with nature. In other words, I recognize no law as legitimate which is either
    contrary to reason or to human nature. Nor do I recognize any obligation as binding on me,
    which I do not freely take upon myself. I believe that people should follow Roman jurist
    Ulpian’s 3 precepts of true law, as punctiliously as they can: to live uprightly; not to
    harm another; and to give everyone his or her due. I believe we should lessen human suffering,
    when & to the extent that we can- always remembering that every human being is made in
    the image & likeness of God.

    With that as background, I’ll try to answer your indictment of America.

  5. Re: Gun Control

    By Henry II’s Assize of Arms [1181] all knights, free laymen, and townsmen
    in England were to be armed; this was the beginning of the English militia or
    ‘train bands’. In 1659, General Monk invaded England from Scotland & commenced
    the liberation of both countries from the Puritan Commonwealth; Monk started
    the war, but it was English train bands which guaranteed victory. Prior to that,
    in 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court [or legislature] had
    promulgated a law requiring all males from 16 to 60 [excepting only clergymen
    & magistrates] to arm themselves. There was even a provision to arm indigents!
    It was against this background that the American Constitutional Convention
    did its work. If Americans wish to be disarmed by the government, then all they
    have to do is to amend the Constitution. Oh, yes- they could also repeal the
    first Amendment, as people should not be offended by speech which they dislike.
    The US Attorney General recently admitted before Congress that her department
    was looking for ways to prosecute global warming skeptics. Don’t worry, though.
    They’re from the Government & they’re here to help you. By the way, there’s a
    great flick that satirically punctures Government, particularly of the custodial
    liberal sort: “The Monitors”. It’s about a nanny-state run amok. The tag-line
    being- trust The Monitors; The Monitors are here to help you.

    And it’s six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee. Or is it?

    Alba Shaor Abú!

    • “Ganging up” on you?

      I’m flattered that you consider me suitable to be a gang member, given my distinct lack of street cred – I don’t even have a tattoo for goodness sake! Can’t speak for Suzanne as though I’ve never met her and it might seem tasteless to ask “do ya wanna be in my gang” ?

      Nevertheless, just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you and you are perhaps right to be wary.

      Thanks for the entertainment Eoin and Bon weekend.

      • From Suzanne – am disappointed. Doesn’t my ‘interloper’ pun deserve a mention? 🙁

      • Well, the dialogue is the important thing. During the recent troubles in The Six
        Counties, an Orangeman & I conceived the idea of a no-man’s-land pub, where
        one’s weapons were taken at the door & one could say whatever he or she wanted,
        so long as St. Thomas Aquinas’s precept was maintained: that one should employ
        only so much acrimony as was necessary to correct a sinner. Given reason & good
        will on both sides, I think most human conflicts can be settled amicably. Or, at least,
        with no massive effusion of blood. There is too much cruelty in the world & war
        is extremely cruel; even when justified.

        I expect I’ll visit Aberdeen, one of these days. I remember an old song, which says-
        “The Northern lights of Aberdeen mean home-sweet-home to me. … [.]” If you’ve got
        a no-man’s-land pub in the district, maybe we can have a pint or two together & some “craic”, as the Irish say.

        Re: Interlopers, my dictionary traces the word to the 1630’s, with the meaning “self-
        interested intruder”. In which case, I suppose I’m guilty. It’s part of my charm, I’ve
        always thought.

        Alba shaor abú!

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