Oct 192015

Is the country in the grip of an organised crime onslaught? Old Susannah thinks so, and offers two bonus definitions, one courtesy of Aberdeen City Council. By Suzanne Kelly

DictionaryTally ho, and apologies for the late running of this service. There’s been so much going on in the Deen that I haven’t had time to put finger to keyboard until now.

BrewDog Bar had its 5th birthday – hard to believe it’s been that long. Beer and brownies were served (in moderation).

I’m doing a speech there this Thursday when they launch a show of Bibo Keeley’s artwork. This feminist artwork was just too much for the Aberdeen College up the road, as per this Aberdeen Voice article. If you’re free, drop in before 7:30pm.

The controlled explosion on Aberdeen’s Fun Beach this week seemed to have caught press attention. If the local journalists like this kind of thing, they need only come to Torry close to Bonfire Night.

By close to the night, I mean 6 months before to 6 months after. In fact, someone’s exploding something just off Victoria Road right now. I guess it just goes to show that our safety people really are on the ball. If they’re not banning pets and plastic chairs from events, making people queue for hours to get into an event, or putting people barriers across roads, they’re blowing things up. Great stuff.

The Harbour Board still insists that it wants only to take complete control of Nigg Bay so we can have cruise ships coming in.

These cruise ships full of rich tourists must be the same hordes of rich tourists which failed to materialise at the Trump golf course. The place is nothing like capacity, and losses are expected to be around £2,000,000 this past year. But the cruise ships; I can see it now – ships pull in full of wealthy tourist, their bulging wallets clutched in their hands as they make their way through the barbed wire keeping us Torry loons and quines away from their ships, down Victoria Road.

The millionaires will stop for a quick sandwich in SPAR or to place a bet before making their way to Union Square Mall, the Rodeo Drive of the North East. Spending their money, enriching the multinational shops’ coffers, they’ll saunter back down Victoria Road, through the dirt, dog dirt, overfilling dumpsters, and wave fondly as their ship pulls out. It’s almost too good to be true.

But at this rate there won’t be any room for definitions, so I’ll get on with it. Sadly, we have a crime problem, and unfortunately, organised crime exists. People team up to rob the unwary or the vulnerable, to steal, to trick, to exploit for profit. Here are some of the schemes they use.

Numbers Racket/Numbers Game: (Modern English Slang compound noun).

Definition 1to use statistics / numbers deliberately slanted with the intent of deception to win an argument.

Old Susannah includes this definition just for completeness, there aren’t any examples of this kind I can find in our area. I tried to think of examples the other day as I sadly walked through Union Terrace Gardens, lamenting the £18,000,000 the Granite Web could have made every year as 6,000 permanent jobs were created, and tourists (possibly from the cruise ships coming to Torry) flocked to see the granite ramps.

I was still trying to think of any examples of a numbers racket when I found myself at the Trump International Golf Links Scotland last week. I struggled to fight my way through the hordes of millionaire golfers queuing up for a £200 round of golf as the permanent Scottish staff struggled to accommodate. Should I think of any examples of this definition of a numbers game, I’ll let you know.

Definition 2 (North American in origin) A lottery based on unpredictable numbers in the results of races, sports games, lotteries, etc.

I’m sure you’re as excited as I am about the new form of the National Lottery. It was great when they doubled the ticket price, but now that they’ve added an extra ten numbers, that means you have more choice! Result!

You can now choose even more numbers than before. Of course, your odds of winning are apparently as good as the chances of Donald Trump admitting that he’s got the world’s worst syrup on his head, or of a certain local billionaire paying the tax he actually morally owes. You have more chance of being hit by lightning than of winning a Lotto jackpot now. But it’s a nice little earner. For Camelot. And the government.

Some unkind folks call Lotto a tax on the poor. That’s nonsense. Besides, we’ve already got lots of taxes on the poor. There’s bedroom tax, fines for the homeless in some parts of the country, and a whole swathe of recent benefit cuts. Lotto’s really just a wee bit of psychological temptation for the poor. When I see people who barely have any money spending it on scratch cards, I’m as sure as they are that that one big win would make everything fine – if one or two people start gambling more than they should, it’s hardly the State’s fault, is it?

Protection Racket: (Modern English Slang compound noun) Practice of paying money in exchange for either not being directly attacked, or for getting assistance when it is needed. Often the person or organisation collecting the protection money will not come through when they are supposed to.

A modern version works like this. Jack works a 9-5 job and takes home £300 a week. The State says Jack has to pay for a scheme, called National Insurance. This is in case Jack ever gets sick, or needs help, or if he wants to keep eating when he is old. National Insurance is not classed as a tax by the way, so the racketeers can pretend they are not raising taxes if they raise National Insurance.

Jack gets sick. If and when he’s lucky, and if he lives in the right post code, he’ll get a great deal of medical help from dedicated professionals. If he’s in the wrong postcode at the wrong time, it will be a different story.

But things are changing. A number of American mobs are moving in on the UK protection racket, and want to get even more money out of us, by taking over the operations – literally. There are think tanks* coming up with papers and reports proving that we need to privatise the National Health Service which should be funded by our protection money – I mean National Insurance. They know they can bleed Jack for just that little bit more money.

Sometimes it doesn’t go well. Jill was taken ill – but she was overweight/smoked/drank too much/ took an ecstasy pill. There are some doctors out there who have let quite a growing number of Jills simply die.

Basically, you pays your money and you takes your chance. This is why many Jacks and Jills are now paying a further protection racket to try to get better odds of fast treatment (or just treatment at all). This link gives you a nostalgic look at how things have slightly shifted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/10078062/why-do-we-pay-national-insurance

It’s not just a bad idea to get ill, it is a very, very bad idea to get old….

Pyramid Selling Scheme: (Modern English Slang compound noun) A financial fraud in which those who get in at the beginning are guaranteed benefit, but those who come in late – at the bottom of the pyramid – wind up losing out.

This National Insurance thing. It started out as a great idea, and it still is a great idea. Alas! The mob running it at present has turned the tables. They’d rather spend our tax and protection money ‘tooling up’ for when they have to go to war with the Middle East Mob, or wherever their gang warfare takes them next. Our money is not going on hospitals and pensions and protection so much as it is going on weapons. Lots of them. Billions of pounds worth. But that’s what the crime bosses want.

Anyway – you make the mistake of getting older. You’ve been paying into the pyramid scheme via your taxes and NI for decades. Not so fast: the bosses have moved the goal posts. You’re going to have to work a few more years. And as you get closer to that deadline, they posts move again.

The thing is – if the crime bosses keep buying all the lethal weapons and rockets they want with your money, and if people keep not dying but getting older – there’s not going to be enough money for your retirement. So they’re cutting back on what you were promised, little by little.

Decent place to live? Well, if you need a retirement home, they’ll take most of your money off of you before you can get into some kind of human (inhuman) warehouse. The people who are supposed to take care of you there are likely to be overworked, undertrained, and in some cases brutal. Your protection money is not likely to save you from the degradation, abuse or chemical coshing you are more than likely to receive.

So, we all keep paying in, we all keep trying to save. The goons that take our money and which will take those savings tell us they’ve got to rescue the banks or we’ll be in financial trouble. They say we need billions of pounds’ worth of weaponry to be safe. They say they need huge pay rises, incentive bonuses, and fat pensions.

Remember though, we are all in this together.

Next Week – probably a column of some sort from my prison cell.

Result!  Bonus Definitions!

* Think Tank: (Modern English compound  noun)– quick definition – a group undertaking research, often funded by those who want the think tank to reach a particular conclusion.

There are more think tanks about the NHS’s future than I can possibly list. Funny – most of these think tanks that are paid for by US healthcare companies are of the opinion the NHS should be privatised and run by, er – US healthcare companies.

wank tankWank Tank: (Modern Aberdeen City Council compound noun)

My picture shows a document Aberdeen City Council’s Housing Department sent out a form to a resident, which reads: ‘Pipes overflowing from the wank tank, water pouring out from the loft overflow.’

Old Susannah is debating whether or not to ask Peter Leonard, head of this department, for help with a definition. If any readers can help, please do let me know.

At least it’s apparently only water coming out from the loft overflow.

Pictures not required in this instance, thank you; tanks but no tanks.

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