Voice’s Old Susannah tackles more tricky terms with a locally topical taste.
The new cuts are well and truly underway. Aberdeen City council met on Wednesday Dec15 and voted to get cracking on the ‘green lighted’ budget cuts, and the rest will follow as night follows day. Old Susannah is certain this round of cuts will bring as much economic stability and prosperity as the last round of budget cuts did.
Cuts are always hard, but are especially unwelcome at this festive time of year. Please then pause to spare a thought for the forgotten victims of these hard times who have been hit hard. I am of course referring to the City Council officials who this year will not be reimbursed for printing their own Christmas cards to send to friends and constituents. Yes, it’s true – you might not get a card this year showing your councillor, their family and the family pet by a fireplace in full technicolour glory, sincerely wishing you and your family the best for 2011. Quite rightly, some of the councillors have complained that this is a cut too far.
Nothing brought quite as much cheer as a Christmas card showing your happy councillor, except perhaps knowing that your tax money helped to pay for it. There is only so much a hardworking councillor can pay for out of their meagre salaries, so if anyone from Future Choices or the Cyrenians is reading this (or anyone else who feels this cut is unfair), please send your councillor a pound or two. Thank you.
By popular demand Old Susannah has been trying to follow up on various animal cruelty stories previously covered in these pages. Our friend the fox batterer, Donald Forbes, is due in the courts early in 2011; he went back on his original confession to clubbing the fox. He then said he was in mortal danger, and merely swung the club near the fox. Now he’s saying nothing. It remains a mystery how the fox was so badly injured it needed to be put down just from having a club swung near it. Maybe Forbes is not a very good golfer.
Coventry’s Mary Bale still can’t explain why she put a cat into a wheelie bin and left it there for some 15 hours
Seagull – shooting Mervyn New of Marine Subsea is making no comment either. Yours truly sent an email to his company and its head office in Norway (asking about its’ guns at work’ policy); both resulted in ‘delivery failure’ messages. I will call them again soon – no doubt they will want to explain why people run around their offices shooting animals.
It’s understood Mr New faces a charge under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. He could also face a charge alleging the reckless discharge of a firearm. It’s really a sad day when a man can’t shoot bird chicks from his office window; whatever are we coming to? Finally, Coventry’s Mary Bale still can’t explain why she put a cat into a wheelie bin and left it there for some 15 hours. We are meant to have some sympathy for her – her father was critically ill. Personally, I find that sending flowers or making soup for the ill person is usually more beneficial to them than the cat-in-the-bin method.
Committee: A committee is a group formed with common goals to promote a certain activity and/or result. It is also said that ‘A camel is a horse designed by a committee’. The reason Aberdeen runs as well as it does is its structure of committees. There are about 20 of these highly efficient committees, and countless sub-committees and action groups under them. Some of these groups of dedicated, far-seeing professionals include the ‘Audit and Risk’, ‘Development Management’, and ‘Corporate Policy’ and ‘Performance ‘ committees. There is an ‘Urgent Business’ committee as well.
We might be about 70 million pounds out of budget, but we do have time, money and resources for a ‘taxi consultation group’. Then again, with the money spent by Kate Dean alone on taxis, it’s probably a good idea this group exists. One of my sources confirms that we are still frequently sending taxis instead of using buses to transport school children and adult groups where buses would be far more economical. I am surprised – I thought most adult groups had been done away with.
Kate Dean is such a genius; her diverse talents enable her to successfully do a host of diverse jobs at one time
It is good that we have a Disability Advisory Group. The best advice I can think of for someone with special needs would be to move to somewhere that won’t slash its disability budget, or at least will clear the pavements in winter so you can leave your home. (PS – do bear in mind that ‘Future Choices’ replaced ‘Choices’ which the Council axed. They could, I’m sure, use a donation or two).
But clearly it is the Audit and Risk Management team that we all owe so much to. We could be in an awful mess if we didn’t have people looking after our budget. Risk managers must have been quite busy ensuring the City resolved its equal pay problems so successfully and swiftly. And when one arm of the city council took another branch to court recently over a housing/services dispute – spending yet more taxpayer money in the process, it was great to know that risk managers somewhere made sure the City didn’t waste money or look like a laughing stock.
Old Susannah will have a look at these wonderful committees in more depth soon.
Diversity, Diversification: Diversity refers to a condition of being composed of different elements. Leonardo daVinci was a genius with a wide ranging diversity of talents – sculptor, designer, painter, scientist. It is often said that we have not seen his like again, but in Aberdeen we have our own example. Our very own Kate Dean is such a genius; her diverse talents enable her to successfully do a host of diverse jobs at one time. She was leader of our Council before becoming head of Planning, and it is clear for all to see what talent she’s brought to those roles. But our Kate finds that her role as councillor and head of planning leave enough free time for various Board of Director roles.
The state of Grampian NHS can be attributed to Ms Dean’s presence on the Board. She was, of course, also on the Board of the successful AECC. Of course a few million pounds were needed to keep the AECC afloat, and the auditors prepared a damning report (which the Council had to discuss in secret this week). And the NHS locally may be in a bleak condition, fighting superbugs and parasites, but this could happen to anyone. It is clear that without Kate Dean having such diverse talents and skills, we would not be where we are today. Let’s give thanks where it is due.
In the old days, a worker or a company had to diversify to stay with the times. You don’t see to many coopers and blacksmiths in town these days. The camera and photographic supply giant Kodak saw the digitial age coming and immediately embraced it. They changed their business model from concentrating on making film-producing cameras and supplies to become an online giant for digital products.
However, we don’t want to have to make everyone diversify. Every week there are glaring headlines pertaining to the nuclear industry and the new home building trade screaming ‘JOB LOSSES COMING. Naturally we don’t ever want to stop making nuclear weapons – someone might lose a job. And as long as there are green fields we can build on, let’s not make the builders diversify into any other lines of work. This should be self evident.