Jul 182013

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

Balmy evenings, hot days, dolphins playing in Nigg Harbour; things are looking pretty good in the Deen for a place with such poor connectivity.  The Surf show of River Don photos has moved to 17 Belmont Street; at the opening Alicia Bruce gave an interesting talk, and some of the photographers discussed their work.

Art events, whether state-sponsored or not, are taking place despite the cultural bid being knocked out in an early round.   Artists converged on BrewDog earlier this week, with artists creating more wall art, and everyone given a chance to create their own artwork as well.
Photographer Sam Brill took some brill shots of the goings-on ( See pic below ).

It was almost as if artwork and spontaneity can happen without being planned and controlled by non-artists.

To celebrate getting a year older, I had a great night at Cafe 52, complete with a great group of people and the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, which was made with stout – thank you Dorothy B.   I also had a lovely meal at Cafe Montmatre (the chocolate fondue dessert in particular was amazing); and some mysterious person sent champagne to my table as well, which went down very nicely indeed.  Thank you mysterious benefactor.

Education is in the forefront of the news this week.  School’s out for summer; schools are being merged, built, torn down and set fire to.

Graduating Uni students took their parents and friends to Union Terrace Gardens for photographs.
I suspect this is just to demonstrate the kind of hardships they’ve had to put up with while studying in the Deen, with its dark, dank scary park filled with deviants and druggies.

Many wonderful honorary degree candidates have been awarded diplomas as well; more on that later.

There are one or two coincidences in the news this week; one involves Aberdeen International Airport’s magazine, upBeat, sister to Trend magazine [what that?  Ed].  Its latest issue extols the virtues of our favourite golf course:-

“All golfing eyes are on Aberdeen with the advent of the Trump International Golf Course.  …the course has been voted both course of the year and the UK’s beset  practice ground, by Golf Odyssey, a leading golf travel magazine.  Looking ahead, the Trump resort will offer luxury accommodation in the Balmedie area, right on the coast.”

Isn’t that wonderful?  Awards, luxury, and no mention of any problems.

Coincidentally, the same issue of upBeat has a full page front inside colour advert.  Would you believe me if I told you this tasteful ad is for Trump’s Balmedie course?  Well, it is!  How very lucky to have the kind words appearing in the same issue as the ad.

This week’s definitions feature another coincidence and some university- and police-related definitions.

School Dinners: (mod English plural noun) cafeteria meals served to school children at meal times.

Known for their gourmet quality and popularity among children and school staff alike, I can truly say there is nothing like a school dinner.

In the news this week,  government is being pressured to make taking these delicious, healthy lunches absolutely mandatory.  The BBC reports that lobbyists want to ban packed lunches.  We can’t have too much freedom of choice, can we – makes things confusing.

Coincidentally, banning packed lunches and mandatory school dinners would be very profitable – for the Leon restaurant chain, which have been involved in a government-commissioned school food review.  Well, they weren’t going to come down in favour of children eating what they wanted or what their parents gave them, were they?

Sadly this attempt to gain further control by the state over children and parents is only in England so far.

I wonder which ConDem pals are behind this healthy option?

Since school meals are absolutely delicious and nutritious all the time, the little kids will be lapping this news up.  Still, it might be better if they could be force-fed, just to make sure they ate as they were told.

If some lucky restaurant/catering company gets a few pounds more from the recommendations they themselves made, so much the better. It’s not as if we’ve had any food scares.  And what could be better than a delicious British/English/Scottish/Welsh lunch at school?  Yum!

The small fly in the ointment (or in the spag bol sauce) might just be the little revelation that most of our institutions are serving chicken from… Thailand.

Sure this might not be the most ecologically sound choice in terms of carbon footprint.  It might not exactly be the best country in terms of animal welfare.  This fact might not exactly be good news to UK farmers.  But still, we’re saving money, even if  causing further animal suffering, ignoring our own economy, and making interesting transport choices in terms of pollution.

I wonder which ConDem pals are behind this healthy option?  Then again, it’s not a great amount, only 70% or so of chicken is coming from Thailand.  It’s not as if we’re serving horsemeat or contaminated beef to the little nippers, is it?

Honorary Degree: (Eng. compound noun) a citation/diploma bestowed by an educational institution on a person worthy of receiving such a qualification in light of their achievements in the world.

Someone named Annie Lennox got an honorary degree this week; she’s a singer who sticks her nose into issues such as Union Terrace Gardens (when we know only famous football managers are allowed to comment on the gardens’ future).  She’s also done lots of charity work, entertained people around the world, and campaigned on issues such as AIDS.

Bad luck Ms Lennox – you didn’t get a degree this time round from Robert Gordon University.  It instead decided the person to honour was: ex BP supremo, Tony Hayward.

Tony gratefully and humbly accepted this honour , presumably from Chancellor Ian Wood, for his 30 years in the oil business.  Less said about that little blip in the Gulf of Mexico, the better.

Of course Tony could have refused this degree, but why should he?

Haywire was in charge when the Deepwater Horizon incident happened.  People lost lives, lost husbands and dads, and it was very gruelling indeed for Tony.  He told the press he very much wanted his life back; it was all just a bit too demanding on his time.

Not so demanding though that he couldn’t go out sailing with Hay junior (presumably not in the Gulf of Mexico though).

RGU are being just a little bit modest in their awarding Tony this honour.  They say that once it was on the table, they had to go ahead and honour him.  Of course they did – when did RGU or Chancellor Sir Ian Wood ever go back on their word?  (Voice Competition – send in your lists of Ian involved in contradictory statements/actions – longest list wins a prize.  First hint to get you started – who said they would walk away if the public didn’t want the city gardens project?).

Of course Tony could have refused this degree, but why should he?  Aside from issues of accountability, lack of cooperation  with US investigators, denial, self-pity, or self-absorption, no reason I can think of.

Congratulations to Tony for joining other honourees including Donald Trump.  If the unthinkable happens, and RGU ever did anything unpalatable or unethical, Wayward could do as Dr Kennedy did, and return his degree.  More on the great man here, from Lena the Hyena  http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/i-would-love-my-life-back-the-honouring-of-tony-hayward/

Undoubtedly, this great honour to a great guy to celebrate him getting his life back (unlike the 11 souls which were killed, and the thousands of birds and sea creatures killed) is completely justified.

The best part of these RGU degrees is the example they set to the students.  Holding up Hayward and Trump as examples of what to aspire to, rewarding how they have proceeded through their careers, sends a clear message to students as to the importance of integrity, ethics, compassion and accountability.

Betting’s open for who will get an honorary RGU degree next year; favourite contenders are Ian Duncan Smith, Vlad the Impaler,  George Osbourne, or Roger Pearce of Special Branch.   “Who’s Pearce?” I hear you ask.  Well, here is a tale of our chief freedom fighter…

Justified: (noun) Necessitated, explainable, required.

Sometimes it’s worth taking a minute to realise how important it is that police spy on us.  Whatever they do, it’s for our own good.  Here’s to the men and women – although in this case mostly men – who go to great lengths to blend into dangerous subversive groups to keep our nation free from democracy – SORRY – I mean to say they keep our nation a free democracy.

Scattered around the country, there are a dozen or so young people who will eventually get mandatory school dinners justifiably thrust down their throats; they may wind up on great university courses where they will learn ethics by example such as RGU.  Their very existence is a shining testament to the vigorous vigilance, – and virility – of our brave, selfless undercover police.

This might seem outrageous, anti-democratic, exploitative of women

So thank you Roger Pearce of The Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, for running secret operations, keeping us safe in our beds.  In the case of a dozen women, it was more a case of getting them into bed, having sex with them, and fathering children – all under false pretences.

Those brave undercover cops got under the covers to keep you and I safe –  from middle class environmental protestors.

There can be no better example of how actions are justified than what Pearce told the BBC:-

 “The objective was to gather secret political intelligence. Many in the Met as a whole wouldn’t have known about it and even within the branch it was kept very, very secret for 40 years,”

“People felt very awkward about doing it. People thought of the parents of the children who had died. But against that was the sense of mission and work for the country.”

“Most [of the creepy two-faced bastards – sorry – police] had families who had to also bear this other life they were leading at strange times of the week – weekends and evenings – so it was tough for the officers and tough for their families too. But I think what drove them on to do it was that it was seen as the pinnacle of their careers,”  (Presumably their wives gave their consent for the police husbands to have unprotected sex with suspects and father children – how very giving of them – if they were consulted).

“on balance, distasteful in many ways though it was, set against the sense of mission and the sense that this was done for protection of national security, I believe it was justified“.


For ten years, Pearce signed off on operations where male officers took the identities of dead children (nb – the bereaved parents were thrilled to learn of this) in order to pretend to be protestors, spending years pretending to be friends, lovers, husbands.

This might seem outrageous, anti-democratic, exploitative of women if not actual sexual assault by sleazy narcissistic police officers, and so on.  But rest assured – Pearce believed it was all justified, so that’s pretty much all right then.

Not just anyone would be willing to spend years fooling those around them, even after realising the protestors in question were harmless, non-violent  average people who simply wanted to do their bit to protect the environment.

Not everyone would have had sex with women and got them pregnant to keep their cover.  And not just any top cop would have signed the approvals needed for this to go on. you just can’t teach this kind of patriotism or ethics – perhaps doling out a few RGU diplomas to those involved would be a suitable reward.

Officer Bob Lambert was especially vigilant; he had his own children, but fathered a child with a woman named Jacqui.  Oddly, she feels hard done by, and feels like she was ‘raped by the state.’  The Guardian has more on her story here http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/24/undercover-police-spy-girlfriend-child

As ever, Private Eye has been on this story from its early days.  No doubt more accounts of heroics will be forthcoming; Old Susannah will watch in admiration, and report back.

Just a little reminder.

Do enjoy the summer sun, but wear sunscreen.  If you have children, don’t let them out for any length of time, cloudy or sunny, without a good child’s sun lotion.  Unless you want to damage their health that is.  Even a little sunburn for a child will be very dangerous and damaging.

Dogs need lots of water if you’re taking them on long walks, make sure you bring some water for them.  And please don’t wind up like the Edinburgh policeman a few years back who killed his dog.

He left it in the hot car.  Just for a moment.  It’s dead, and that’s really all you need to know.  Dogs die in hot cars – and in cars that don’t seem hot to you.  Dogs also get stolen.  If you wouldn’t want your dog dead or stolen, then don’t leave it alone.  Enjoy your summer with sense.

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May 172012

Old Susannah wonders who pulled the trigger on the hill without warning, injects some good stuff into the mix and sings happy birthday. By Suzanne Kelly. 

Brief Deer Update

Firstly, a clarification to a recent deer cull story of mine.  Ranger Ian Tallboys wrote to advise he didn’t shoot the deer.  I speculated in this earlier article that it could have been him as a long-serving ranger who wanted the trees planted and who wanted the deer culled, both a matter of record.  But he says he didn’t pull the trigger, so it must be some other long-standing ACC affiliate.

The documents I have are crudely redacted, but some of them certainly point to a person employed by ACC being involved in the cull.  I can’t imagine why the culler doesn’t want to be named as they are so proud of their work and so convinced it needed doing.

We need to know if the ‘expert’ the city kept referring to as insisting killing was the answer was the same person who was paid to do the killing – could be some small conflict of interest issue there.

Could it possibly be this person might have a financial interest in timber / hunting / land management that could be tied to the tree planting and the cull?  It would explain why the city refused to listen to the freely-offered services of an expert who said the deer could have been spared? I would love to know.  And eventually I will.

I am told a certain Mr Nicholson might be able to help with my investigations; we shall see.  I’ve asked Ian Tallboys for an explanation in return as to why there were no signs telling the public a gunman with a rifle was killing things while we were all walking, exercising dogs, playing with families, riding motorbikes on the hill.

The city decided this lethal risk should have been communicated by clear warning signs at each and every entrance to the hill – but no one saw any such warnings.   As soon as I get a response I’ll be sharing it with you.  And my lawyers.

But tally ho!  It was another exciting week in the Deen.  Rosemary from Aberdeen PA threw a great event at the Hilton Treetops where about 100 local businesses displayed what they have to offer from hotels to food to furniture.  Andrew from the Cock and Bull was there with some of his delicious food, Glencraft was on hand, and there were many more people involved than I can mention now.

I suppose a small dose of sarcasm and even cynicism might occasionally sneak into a column of mine now and then.

Sadly I didn’t get to ‘Wildly Unprepared’ comedy improve at the Belmont Cinema this Wednesday – but will try and go next week.  I had another great meal at Café 52, and I had some more IPA is Dead (Challenger) at BrewDog which was delicious – their recent refit means a lighter, more airy space – and more room for beer lovers.

The Nick Nairn Cookery School course I took this week taught by Louise was perfect in every way – more on that elsewhere.

If anyone wonders why I often mention what I’ve been doing and what’s been going on, it is because I am sometimes accused of writing a bit ‘sarcastically’, or in the words of some council people, I am being ‘negative’.  As for the first, I suppose a small dose of sarcasm and even cynicism might occasionally sneak into a column of mine now and then.

But as to negativity, I’d like to think that while I mainly write about kerb-crawling, cash-syphoning City Councillors or megalomaniac builders, billionaires and BiGshots, I also mention good things and people doing interesting projects. Because as well as  billionaires and BiGshots etc, we also have great stuff going on.

BrewDog, Malmaison, Nick Nairn and other unique, talented enterprises thrive here.  Glencraft is still with us, and the Silver City Surfers are still helping people get online– all important, creative, interesting, and going on right here, even without a giant granite web over our garden.   It’s a miracle.  Now that’s cleared up, time for one definition.

Testimonial:  (noun) An endorsement or recommendation, often based on personal experience.  This is a tough one to define; perhaps some examples will be of use –

Aberdeen Voice has been great as a supportive honest voice telling the truth about what has been happening in the area. Exactly what local people need – unlike the mainstream media who always seem to have an agenda that is not always as clear as it may seem. As such, I for one will continue to support Aberdeen Voice in any way I can.

But what do others think?

David Milne,  Menie Resident:

“The Aberdeen Voice has been a stalwart supporter of the anti-Tullos Hill deer cull campaign and without their ongoing support, thousands of caring Aberdonians would be in the dark as to many happenings taking place in our beautiful city. Many thanks to all of the amazingly dedicated people who put so much time and effort into creating such an interesting and informative read, and long may it continue! Congratulations on 100 issues!”

Deb,  Manager at Lush Aberdeen:  (& powerful ally to the Tullos Hill campaign, Willows and New Arc for openers)

“I am delighted to have the opportunity of a) congratulating Aberdeen Voice on its 100th edition – long may it continue to flourish! and b) to put on record how much I enjoy reading about local events that frequently are passed over by the commercial media that have always to consider the interests of those who buy advertising space rather than the interests of readers.

“Too often, in this society of ours, money buys influence.  We have seen that in the Trump Affair at Menie and in the battle to save Union Terrace Gardens against commercial incursions into public amenities.  Conditioning, or brainwashing if you prefer, has led us all to believe that making money is paramount, with human wellbeing coming a poor last.  See what is happening in Greece.  See what is happening to the environment.  It wasn’t always like this and it doesn’t have to be like this.  But to change this trend, independent voices, unswayed by commercial considerations, are essential.

“Aberdeen Voice is beholding to no commercial interest and can boldly support the interests of local people and express their concerns.  It does this admirably. It deserves its expanding readership, and a hearty thanks to its volunteer staff who do such a splendid job.”

David Kennedy – former Principal of RGU:

“Aberdeen Voice is just what it says: news and views from people in and around Aberdeen. At a time when the Press is in the dock over its manipulation of the news and for promoting sectional powerful interests, Aberdeen Voice refreshingly reflects the opinions of those without official authority and so has provided a major platform for free speech for the majority.”

Lena:  (Lenathehyena of http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/ )

“I’ve only been reading The Aberdeen Voice for the last few months but I’m very impressed by the tenacious way the reporters get their teeth into a story and stick with it. Other community news projects could learn a lot from The Aberdeen Voice. Every town in Scotland needs an independent, campaigning Voice. Here’s to the next 100 issues.”

John Robins,  Animal Concern Advice Line:

“Congratulations on your 100th edition! Kind regards.”

Kate,  Willows Animal Sanctuary:

“Congratulations Aberdeen Voice!”

Chris,  Coordinator, Silver City Surfers:    www.silvercitysurfers.co.uk

“Congratulations to all at Aberdeen Voice on the Centenary Edition! The Silver City Surfers enjoyed reading the article about the service we provide to help those over 55 to learn basic computing in a social setting. Your article was informative, interesting and inviting and we have enjoyed dipping into the internet to read more local articles. Looking forward to the next hundred …  Best wishes to you.”

And there I leave it. However feel free to add your own testimonial in the comments box below.

Happy 100th Issue Aberdeen Voice!

Next week:  return to definitions as usual…

Jan 192012

By Bob Smith.

Ma birthday’s in a fyow days time
Anither ‘ear it bites the dust
Noo ae present a wid affa like
In fact iss een wid be a must
A day withoot ony Eurozone news
Een free fae aa doom an gloom
A day fin the financial mairkets
Are nae beamed ti ma livin room
A time free o news o the FTSE
Or foo the DAX is deein the day
A time fin a dinna hae ti hear
A country’s drappit fae a triple A
A day fin the mairket prices
Are nae seen as a holy grail
A day free fae bliddy economists
Haein a greet an a bit o a wail
Nae Cameron, Sarkozy or Merkel
Tryin ti tell us aa fit needs deein
A day fin we can enjoy oorsels
An nae listen ti the buggers aa leein
So TV moguls an Press barons
Tak heed o iss puir mannie’s plea
Jist gie us aa a gweed present
A day we bide Eurozone free

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Image Credit © Andy Brown | Dreamstime.com

Mar 252011

Happy 9-month birthday to Aberdeen Voice!  And Old Susannah’s column has now been running for 6 months.

I was having a quick lemonade with Fred Wilkinson (or ‘Freditor-in-Chief’ as I call him) and he explained how the Voice was born.  He was talking to friends, and they were discussing whether it was possible to create as great, impartial, investigative and intelligent a newspaper as the ones we already have in Aberdeen, and they decided to give it a go.

Nine months later, there are dozens of contributors and thousands of readers – but no advertisers the Voice is beholden to.

There are three things I particularly love about the Voice itself.

  • The first is that absolutely anyone who has something reasonable and coherent to say is welcome to submit an article.
  • The second is the stories the Voice has broken.  For instance, when Trump’s organisation explained to the world’s media that they never considered the use of compulsory purchase orders at Menie, Voice  published an excellent article proving this simply was not the case.

When Councillor Malone told the Press & Journal that only ‘about one’ Aberdeen resident contacted her objecting to the deer cull, the Voice’s readers sent in proof to the contrary in spades.  And while the Union Terrace Gardens situation gets murkier and more confusing by the minute, the Voice breaks important developments that that are not covered in other local press publications….. for some reason.

  • The Third great thing about Aberdeen Voice to me is the growing number of readers that are getting involved.  People are writing in to the  Voice for more information, contacting their elected officials on matters featured in the Voice, and are writing to Voice contributors with important leads, comments and very kind words of encouragement.

Then there are the people who make the Voice a reality.  First there is Fred Wilkinson (or ‘Dave’ or ‘Wilkinson’ as Councillor Malone calls him), the editor-in-chief.  He has two teenage children, his band, and a host of other projects and yet he finds the time to bring all the contributions together, chase down delinquent sub editors and bring together edition after edition for publication on time, every week.

Mike Shepherd and Sarah-Jane Duffus are two of the leading Union Terrace Gardens writers and activists. Their energy and dedication to saving the city’s only centre park, not to mention probably the most valuable, irreplaceable and beautiful city centre civic asset in Aberdeen, is admirable.  It is no wonder that they have ACSEF worried and complaining publicly that the UTG Friends are ‘organised’. They bloody well are.

Rob is the Aberdeen Voice ‘tech guy’ who has a dozen or so of his own projects going, yet can show up to take amazingly high quality photos  on breaking stories with lightning speed.

I was honoured then and more so now to be part of this amazing group of people

He has the patience of several saints and continuously improves the technology behind the Voice; its growing readership has meant lots of work for Rob – who also has to try and get me up to speed with technical developments – not an easy task.

I also owe a debt of thanks to Rhonda Reekie, who writes on a variety of subjects.  Some six months ago she contacted me and wondered if I’d like to consider writing something for the Voice.  Well, six months on and I really must thank the Council and the Big business interests for continuously generating material to write about.  I was honoured then and more so now to be part of this amazing group of people and this much-needed and much-enjoyed electronic newspaper which is Aberdeen Voice.  Thanks.

I was sick for two weeks, during which the world has become overcome with problems from Libya to Japan.  Closer to home, the Scottish Parliament decides not to call in the Loirston Loch stadium plan (as one fellow objector put it, ‘I am surprised they had time to open the envelope, let alone weigh up the issues.”).

One minute we are to kill deer, then no, then yes. To make matters worse, it looks like Stewart Milne homes are losing money, as young would-be purchasers are having their mortgage applications rejected – home sales in the Milne Group may be down as much as 20%.  No wonder the poor man wants to increase parking costs at Pittodrie.  It’s more than Old Susannah can keep up with.

I was, however, very pleased when I heard about the lorry-load of cement that was dumped on Aberdeen’s roads; I thought it was a great way to fill in some of the potholes.  Sad to say, it turned out that this was a mistake, and not a cunning plan by our Council (well, it did sound like the kind of thing they might do).  When I finally got out of my sickbed, I was shocked to find that a pothole on Victoria Road had been filled in.

If you don’t do return your form, you will be deemed to have ‘taken leave of your census’ and may be fined.

This was also a bit sad for the locals, as we’d been planning on stocking this particular hole with trout.  The material filling the hole doesn’t appear to have been ‘tamped down’ at all, and it is of a completely different material than either the road or all the other patches.  I have every confidence it will last as long as the other road mends have done.  I give it two weeks.

Tuesday was busy – first it was the excellent Mark Edwards ‘Hard Rain’ exhibition and presentation at Aberdeen University. I fully recommend a visit to see the work which will be up for a month.  Immediately afterwards I raced to Peacock Visual Arts which hosted ‘Run Down Aberdeen’ – another excellent film by Fraser Denholm and Mike Shepherd.  I missed the film – which you can now get online – but was entertained by the panel discussion featuring Fraser, Councillors Martin Greig, Kevin Stewart, and Lewis MacDonald MSP.

The gallery was packed, including the area just outside the gallery.  I did get a chance to ask if there was any connection between Stewart Milne’s Triple Kirks plan and the desire to turn our Victorian garden into a parking lot.  I didn’t exactly get an answer.

Right, time to define some of the terms arising of late.  Apologies for the long intro.

Census (noun) A polling of individuals and householders, usually undertaking by governments, in order to aid future planning.

We are currently all receiving our Census forms, which must be returned by 27 March.  No doubt the post office will provide its usual swift service and not a single form will be lost.  If you don’t do return your form, you will be deemed to have ‘taken leave of your census’ and may be fined.

It is unfortunate that the population can no longer respond with “Jedi Knight” as an answer on the religion question

But you will, of course, want to reveal to the government every detail of your life, family, health, finances etc.  That’s how they keep giving us the great, forward-thinking services enjoyed today by the elderly, people with special needs, school children and the poor.  The number of bathrooms in your house is crucial to these calculations.

(Naturally all details will be kept strictly confidential – unlike all of the past instances of confidential information being left on trains, leaked or lost).

Aberdeen couldn’t be the great place it is if 10 years ago people hadn’t done their census forms.  It is just unfortunate that we’re closing our schools down while at the same time building new ‘affordable homes*’ on every patch of green that still exists.  I guess the Census back then must have said our population would quadruple.

It is unfortunate that the population can no longer respond with “Jedi Knight” as an answer on the religion question.  This is unfair discrimination against Jedi Knights, and just goes to prove that the dark side of the force is in control in Scotland.  Any resemblance between Ms Dean and an Imperial Storm Trooper (or one of those furry muppet alien squeaky things) might be more than coincidental.  May the Farce be with you – get those Census forms in.

*Affordable Housing (noun) dwelling places priced lower than fair market value, intended to benefit people with low incomes.

Are you a multimillionaire feeling the pinch?  Need to build some luxury des-res homes in the greenbelt (where there is no VAT to pay on the land) in a hurry and cheaply?  Need to convince those sceptical, uncooperative, incisive Councillors that new housing should be built rather than old buildings converted?  Well then, ‘affordable housing ‘ is your ticket to your next few million.

The local authorities will always give you planning permission anyway, but the phrase ‘affordable housing’ is music to their ears:  it will help them to justify the approval to build your unique, individualistic, state-of-the art homes where endangered species currently roam unchecked.

You’ll probably get a tax break for building ‘affordable homes’ as well.

There is dancing in the streets today as people rejoice over the 1p reduction in the price of motor fuel

What happens is this:  your development goes up, and you build say 2 to 4 ‘affordable homes .  The press tells the world what a great guy you are, and announces the date for the homes to be sold.  People then queue up on site to buy these bargains for days in advance of the sale.  The first few people get the homes, and move in to spend many happy years living in a luxurious new development.

None of these buyers will instantly sell their bargain property for a massive profit – that would be morally wrong and would defeat the purpose of ‘affordable housing’ in the first place.

Budget (noun) a set list of rules for fiscal expenditure.

In the UK the budget is set by established financial wizard and genius, George Osborne.

There is dancing in the streets today as people rejoice over the 1p reduction in the price of motor fuel. People can now fill their tanks for about 17p less than before.  What will you do with your 17p?  You could put it towards the cost of a drink, but it won’t  pay for the increased cost of your cigarettes (which you should really quit anyway – unless you’re immortal and super-rich).

The ‘coalition’ government was no doubt left with a huge mess to clean up, and bombing Libya will no doubt go a long way to helping us get back on our feet.  Or something.  We did after all sell Libya all those finely crafted, UK made handcuffs, riot gear, clubs and shackles – time to capitalise on the investment.

By bombing them, we’re making more money for UK Defence Contractors.  Result!

The old joke was ‘A capitalist is someone who will sell you the rope they are going to hang you with’.  The Libya situation is an interesting take on this sentiment. Clearly nothing is more important than British Jobs – and the idea of weapons large and small no longer being made in the UK is too much to bear.

The North Sea Oil industry will be stumping up an extra few pence in tax, and George Osborne has promised to close some of the tax loopholes exploited by the rich for decades.  I just hope none of our important, famous multi-millionaires are troubled by this budget.  Somehow, I doubt they will be.

Next week – more definitions and a look back at some of the Old Susannah outstanding issues