Jan 162015

Eilidh WhitefordTwo North-east Labour MPs vote with Conservatives for further austerity. With thanks to Paul Robertson.

It has been revealed 28 Scottish Labour MPs voted with the UK Government last night for £75 billion of cuts and tax rises.
Those voting with the Conservative Government for further austerity included two North-east Labour MPs, Anne Begg and Frank Doran.

Commenting, MP for Banff & Buchan and SNP Westminster Spokesperson for Work & Pensions, Eilidh Whiteford (pictured), said:

“Labour have shown their true colours in siding with the Tories, and it shows even more clearly that only by voting SNP can Westminster’s obsession with imposing austerity cuts be changed.”

“The Conservatives are committed to continued austerity which will hit Scottish public services- and they have now been backed by Scottish Labour.

“The consequences of austerity are all too plain to see in my own constituency and across the North-east, so it is particularly disappointing to see two Labour MSPs for the North-east side with the Conservatives. It will be ordinary, hard-working people in their constituencies who will continue to suffer and those people should not be paying the price for the mess that the Tories and Labour got us into in the first place.”

“The SNP in government has a strong record on protecting our public services and supporting public sector workers – including the recent additional funding announced for NHS Grampian.  But the impact of Westminster’s austerity agenda is continuing to be felt – and with more cuts being passed down the line , the strain on our vital public services will only increase.”

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Jan 082015
Paul Redmond2

Dr Paul Redmond will speak at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Conference on 28 January 2015.

With thanks to Jo Milne, Tricker PR.

A world-renowned expert on generational behaviour will address 200 delegates at a tourism conference in the north east in early 2015. Dr Paul Redmond (pictured), a leading expert on generations and the graduate labour market from the University of Manchester, will deliver the keynote speech at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Conference on 28 January 2015.

Held in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, the conference follows a highly successful inaugural event in 2014 which saw tourism businesses from across the north east come together to discuss the region’s tourism offering.

The 2015 conference will feature speeches, interactive workshops and networking sessions in order to allow tourism operators the chance to learn the skills required to maximise their business potential.

Registration is now open for the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Conference, which is being organised by the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Partnership. Delegates pay just £55 (excluding VAT) to attend the full day conference, which will allow them access to industry experts from across the country. Online booking is available at www.regonline.com/aberdeentourism2015

Alongside Dr Redmond, a number of other speakers will address the delegates during the course of the conference. Alastair Dobson, chairman of VisitArran and managing director of Taste of Arran, will discuss the benefits of collaboration in business, and VisitScotland’s Chris McCoy will explain the steps required to make sure tourism businesses are accessible to all.

Representatives from event sponsors Aberdeen International Airport and Serco NorthLink Ferries will also reveal new developments in the area’s transport links.

In addition to speeches, delegates have the opportunity to choose two in-depth workshops from a programme covering a diverse range of topics including Online Bookings, Accessible Tourism, Social Media, Sustainability & Legislation, Google Analytics and Business Collaboration.

Tourism Partnership manager Elaine Booth says,

“The inaugural Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Conference was a great success, and we are excited to be bringing the event back in 2015 with an even more diverse range of speakers and workshops. Tourism in the north east of Scotland can sometimes be overlooked in favour of the energy industry, however the region has a lot to offer and we aim to help businesses capitalise on their potential.

“With a number of new hotel developments in the area, as well as constantly developing transport links and lower weekend rates, more and more travellers are considering Aberdeen and the surrounding area as a holiday destination. Tourism businesses need to grasp these opportunities and ensure that their customers are receiving world-class service. The aim of the conference is to provide local operators with the tools and skills required for them to take their tourism businesses to the next level.”

As well as offering the chance to learn from well-respected industry experts, the conference will also include opportunities for networking and visiting exhibitors.

Follow the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Conference on Twitter @abdntourismconf and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aberdeencityandshiretourismconference

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Jan 082015

VisitAberdeen has announced it will launch a Chinese version of its website in a bid to attract a share of the $128 billion China spends every year on overseas leisure and business tourism. With thanks to Stevie Brown, Tricker PR

Copyright: Newsline Scotland

“Aberdeen has so much to offer the Chinese market.” – Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen.

The Chinese are the biggest overseas spenders in the world, spending on average 50% more than Americans when they are on vacation. With a total population of 1.357 billion, only 10 million of China’s residents can speak English. With forecasts suggesting 500 million Chinese people will travel overseas in the next 15 years, VisitAberdeen believes it is critical to promote the city as a leisure and business destination to the Chinese in their native language.

Since 2011 the number of seats on flights between China and the UK has increased by 25%, to over 50,000 seats per month according to a VisitScotland report.

VisitAberdeen worked with media agency China Business Network (CBN) to create the site, and will continue to work with them to promote the city to the Chinese market place.

Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen says,

“The Chinese language website will provide us with the opportunity to reach one of the wealthiest markets in the world, and promote Aberdeen as a leisure and business tourism destination. Less than 1% of the population in China can speak English, so the creation of the new site will allow us to reach the 638 million Chinese people who are online and make $22 billion worth of internet travel bookings every year.

“We will continue to work very closely with the CBN throughout the project to promote Aberdeen to the people of China.  There are so many cultural differences that we have to be aware of, for example there are often censorship issues surrounding websites such as Google in China and Facebook and Twitter are banned. These are often our go-to digital marketing platforms in the western world, but for this project we’re having to utilise different social media platforms such as an app called WeChat, which is similar to the UK version WhatsApp.

“CBN represented VisitAberdeen at the China International Travel Market in November this year, and we are planning to attend two events in 2015 in China; Incentive Travel and Conventions Meetings China; and China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market. These events are important for us to attend as it will allow us to meet and discuss what the Aberdeen area has to offer Chinese tourists with key tourism influencers.

“With excellent connections to hub airports, Aberdeen is easy for Chinese tourists to travel to, with connecting flights from London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Flight times from Beijing to London takes under 11 hours, and with connecting flights between London and Aberdeen taking a little over an hour you could travel China to Aberdeen in a little over half a day.

“Aberdeen has so much to offer the Chinese market. We know from a Visit Britain survey that countryside, cultural and built heritage rank highly with Chinese tourists. Aberdeen has a wealth of these attractions, from the collection of castles which have a rich cultural legacy, to city landmarks like Marischal College, whisky distilleries and breath-taking countryside views.”

VisitAberdeen is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and the industry including Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association and Aberdeen Inspired. For further information contact VisitAberdeen on 01224 900490 or visit www.visitaberdeen.com.

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Dec 192014

Eilidh WhitefordBy Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Last Friday the House of Commons passed an historic piece of legislation, to enshrine in law the promise made over forty years ago to commit 0.7% of our Gross National Income to international development.

I know this is an issue close to the hearts of many constituents, who make their own generous contributions to charities working overseas, and want to see the UK government play its part by meeting its responsibilities as part of the global community.

Although development assistance is a tiny proportion of our budget, it has a big impact on the lives of people affected by natural disasters and wars, and can have a transformative effect on those living in poor countries.

Overseas aid from this country has provided clean water and sanitation for over 43 million people.

10 million children have gone to school who otherwise would not have had an education, and 3.6 million women have given birth safely, supported by a qualified midwife or other medical professional. UK aid has also been instrumental in promoting economic development in poorer countries – indeed, some which have grown to such an extent they have become important new trading partners for us.

Although the introduction of the Bill was a manifesto commitment of all the major parties in 2010, it was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore. I was disappointed that a few MPs, who opposed the Bill (despite standing on a manifesto supporting it), tried to kill the Bill using some of Westminster’s more arcane parliamentary procedures to scupper it.

It’s enormously frustrating that our democracy is open to such shenanigans. Luckily, the Bill survived and was carried by an overwhelming majority of those present, but the outcome could have been very different.

Our aid money also supports developing countries to build open, transparent and accountable democratic systems of government. Maybe it’s time we paid a bit more attention to our own advice.

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Dec 132014

Common Weal Aberdeen is delighted to announce their National Tour Event. With thanks to  Beth Dynowski.

Common Weal Aberdeen 2In support of the launch of Common Weal Aberdeen & Common Weal Aberdeenshire, an event is to be held as part of the wider Common Weal National Tour.

The event presents Aberdeen’s first large scale event organized by citizens of Aberdeen with keynote speakers from around Scotland to come together to think ambitiously about social innovation and equality.

Speakers who will be in attendance include journalist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, politician and Aberdeen University Rector Maggie Chapman and Aberdeen Poet Makar Sheena Blackhall.

The event is focused on community engagement, empowerment and innovation in common issues which affect all citizens of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and beyond.

The Common Weal encourages diversity of thinking and approaches to shaping society across the social, cultural, economic and political spectrum and presents a unique opportunity across the city and shire to connect a local, national and global conversation.

Common Weal Aberdeen/shire launch (to be immediately followed by a social event open to all.)

Tuesday 16th December, 7-9pm,
The Citadel,

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Oct 312014

ARR Craib Transport Ltd sponsors takes key messages on economy and green transport on the roads. With thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

20140929_Branded_Trailers_012A north east haulage firm is taking key messages about the region’s economy and sustainable transport on the road – quite literally. ARR Craib Transport Ltd has sponsored branded trailers for the Aberdeen City & Shire Economic Future and Nestrans, allowing the groups to raise their profile with local communities and road users.

The curtain-siders, which carry key messages about the aims and objectives of each group, will be used by ARR Craib across all UK long-distance routes.

The ACSEF trailer carries the strapline ‘Driving economic development in Aberdeen City & Shire’ while the Nestrans trailer focuses on the Getabout car sharing scheme.

ARR Craib chief executive officer Eddie Anderson, who is on the board of both ACSEF and Nestrans, says the company feels passionately about strengthening the region’s economy and helping to ease congestion on the roads.

“An efficient transport network helps businesses to grow and attracts investment into an area, so the aims of these two groups go hand-in-hand,” says Mr Anderson.

“Our vehicles travel the length and breadth of the UK, and we hope that the ACSEF trailer will help raise awareness of the region and the opportunities that it presents for businesses.

“More locally, we want the Getabout trailer to communicate key messages about the benefits of car sharing to both the environment and people’s own finances, and of course the benefits to everyone of having less cars on our congested roads.

“As a company, we always try to maximise our operations by taking as many different loads as we can on one route to avoid unnecessary journeys, so car sharing with two or more people travelling together on the same journey makes perfect sense.”

ARR Craib has previously won awards for its approach to developing a clean and green fleet and reducing its carbon footprint.

Colin Crosby, ACSEF chairman says:

“A big thank you to ACSEF’s board member Eddie Anderson and ARR Craib for this generous offer. It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of ACSEF within the City & Shire and throughout Scotland. Working together with the private sector to help raise the profile of the north east is vital for the ongoing economic success of the region.”

Nestrans Chair, Councillor Peter Argyle, adds:

“We really appreciate the kind offer from ARR Craib to use this eye-catching platform to promote some of our key messages. Getabout is a major project for Nestrans with the aim of encouraging healthy and sustainable transport choices for everybody within Aberdeen City & Shire. We hope this will also raise awareness and attract new members to our CarShare initiative in the north-east.”

ARR Craib Transport Ltd provides transport and logistics services within the local, radial, UK and international transport markets. The company operates more than 300 vehicles and 500 trailers controlled from bases and distribution hubs at Aberdeen, Cumbernauld and Eaglescliffe. It employs around 400 people.

Services include rail freight and rail terminal management, warehousing, material handling, facilities management and manpower provision. More information can be found at www.arr-craib.co.uk

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Oct 242014

With thanks to Stuart Donaldson, Constituency Officer to Christian Allard MSP

Christian Allard MSP at Holyrood2SNP MSP Christian Allard has criticised Labour’s record on housing as well as branding a Labour MSP’s comments as an attempt at political point scoring.

Mr Allard has written to Richard Baker regarding his comments which appeared in the Buchan Observer on Tuesday 21 October.

Commenting, Mr Allard said:

“It is extremely disingenuous for Richard Baker to criticise the Scottish Government on its record for delivering affordable housing considering Labour’s extremely poor performance while in administration.

“Between 2003 and 2007 Labour built a total of 6 houses. In contrast the Scottish Government is on target to deliver 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016. As of March this year the total delivered since 2011 was 19,900.

“The recent changes to the Help to Buy scheme also mean that the housing market has been made much more accessible to first time buyers. It is particularly useful here in the North East where there are many areas with higher than average house prices.

“I’m sure people in the North East will see Richard Baker’s comments for what they are, an attempt at political point scoring.

“This is becoming the norm for Labour politicians, even on the big issues facing our country. Perhaps this goes someway to explaining why the Labour vote is in freefall across Scotland and why they do not hold a single Scottish Parliamentary constituency seat in the North East.”

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Oct 242014

In the fourth of a controversial 52 part series Duncan Harley and Janice Catto take cognisance of the political comments on a wall near you.

polphail 2 duncan harleyWall art is not entirely about puerile penile fantasies and homophobia. Much of the creativity implies a need to be heard and a desire to communicate to an adult world.
The graphic sexual images, rudely erotic comments and insulting narrative may in essence be a cover for the need to be understood or indeed misunderstood.

“FUCK HITLER” when sprayed on a 1960’s damp concrete multi storey edifice may in reality be a subversive comment regarding planning policies.

“Mo Mo is Fat” when painted on a fast food outlet door is open to wide interpretation. Is Mo Mo fat because the business owners don’t care about the hydrogenated fat content of the burgers on sale? Or is this simply a meditative Buddhist take on the perception of a reality near you. Try reversing the text.

The east coast oil boom came to Aberdeen some 40 odd years ago and the effects are still resonating. Fast wealth, fast drugs, fast cars and some extremely fast ladies abound. Stories of rags to riches and of course success to poverty abound.

For the Hamish tagged westerners it was a wee bit different. Think poor disempowered fisher folk, betrayed crofters and the stealing of sheep.

Portivadie is a prime example. The Loch Fyne village consisting of some cottagers, a family run farm and around a dozen summer-time holiday hutters was bought over by a government agency in the 1960’s.

Intent on building oil rigs for oil hungry klondikers, the devil may care career civil servants offered householders a deal. Get out or get forced out was the message.

Keen to exploit the black gold, the UK government of the day with the complete compliance of the Scottish Office focused on a site which was intended to become an oil rig construction facility.

Despite extensive work costing the nation millions, the white elephant of Portivadie was never used for its intended purpose. In a moment of unmitigated madness, planners employed outdated thinking to an industry which they completely misunderstood. The assumption was that oil rigs should be constructed from the re-enforced concrete despite the industry’s total reliance on state of the art steel built drill platforms.

Shorelines were torn up, local folk were offered compensation for dwellings owned by generations and buildings were bulldozed. Local landmarks such as the Watch Rock were blown up and Pictish stones were thrown into the Loch Fyne.

No rigs were ever constructed or even ordered from the Portivadie facility and the construction site now functions as a marina.

Ironically the Civil Service blunder’s continued as Hansard (03 February 1981 vol 998 cc147-54) records:

“ £3.3 million of public money” was used “ due to an omission, an error, a blunder—call it what you may—by either the Scottish Office or the Department of Energy, or both, the ownership of the village passed to a company called Sea Platform Constructors (Scotland) Ltd. because the Department or Departments failed to buy the land from it. Under the provisions of Scottish law, the ownership of the village passed to the private owners of the land on which the village was sited.”

polphail 6 duncan harley The workers accommodation village built for the failed project still stands.It is full of bats plus the detritus of decades of neglect.

In October 2009, a group of six graffiti artists decided to paint the place.

Armed with a few dozen gallons of paint plus some long ladders, they transformed the derelict concrete village from a grey Stalinist concrete workers gulag into a point of contention.

The street artist combine “Agents of Change” consisting of Derm, Rough, Timid, Stormy, System and Juice126 initially contacted the site owner Alan Bradley to ask permission to re-decorate Polphail in a street-wise way.

Alan replied:

 “as long as you’re insured and you protect yourselves – go for it, guys!”

The results are stunning.

We visited in rain but were completely bowled over since the graphics occupy entire walls. Rarely are there any words and most of these are in good humour.

There are no “WANK IF YOU LIKE ME” comments here. The most contentious phrase might be “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPARKAY” however we failed to penetrate the innermost sanctum due to deep puddles and a few dead sheep.

In June 2012 the workers village at Polphail was put up for sale. Word is however that it’s status as an Argyll Heritage habitat for bats may prevent demolition.

In June 2010, Glasgow photographer Brian Cumming visited the site to document the change since the arts project. His findings were that not much had changed:

“Polphail is still very much derelict with not much having happened over the last few years, it still really is a dark and gloomy mysterious yet fascinating place, especially for creative people such as myself.”

Watch Brian’s video on Polphail

Our graffiti Flikr page is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanharley/sets/72157648822962775/ and we will add to it from time to time.

Yours creatively, Duncan and Janice.
Next time we will be looking at some Tibetan roadside wall art on the Gonggar to Lhasa highway.

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Oct 242014

Mr Allard about to deliver policing bill letter to Malcolm Bruce and Alison McInnes With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP

North East MSP Christian Allard has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of changes to Help to Buy (Scotland) which will support more people get onto or move up the property ladder.

As of Wednesday, 22 October 2014, the shared equity scheme will only apply to homes worth up to £250,000, rather than the current maximum of £400,000.

This change will ensure that more people can benefit from available funding and help to target funding at lower income families and first time buyers.

With 85 per cent of all Help to Buy (Scotland) sales to date already at or below this new threshold, and an estimated 94 per cent of sales having been to first time buyers, most new build houses will not be affected by the changes.

Demand for the scheme has been high with Ministers allocating £275 million to the scheme to date, which is £55 million more than the industry’s original £220 million request. £100 million of that funding has been allocated to the 2015-16 budget.

Commenting, SNP MSP Christian Allard said:

“This is fantastic news for first time buyers and people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to buy a new build home. It is particularly useful here in the North East where there are many areas with higher than average house prices.

“The Scottish Government delivering changes to the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme has opened up the housing market to thousands of house buyers. Buying a new Barrat Home in places like Inverurie will be a more realistic target for many.

“These changes along with arrangements for the Land and Buildings transaction Tax announced by the Finance Secretary recently, demonstrates the SNP’s commitment to making sure everyone in Scotland has access to good quality, affordable homes.”

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Oct 172014

Old Susannah aka Suzanne Kelly gets to grips with grippy politicians and businessmen both sides of the pond.

cultural hubIt was an interesting week as ever in Aberdeen, as this photo from our trendy, hip, happening cultural hub shows. Yes, it sensibly closes by 6pm, after all, culture shouldn’t overlap regular working hours. In the door of the former 1-up record shop, a blackboard helpfully tells people what is on in Aberdeen. With cutting edge technology like that, it really is a wonder that we didn’t win City of Culture.

I’m told that some of you  young folk use something called ‘the internet’ when you want information as opposed to going to the exterior of a closed shop to look at a blackboard – is this true?

In other news, Spear of Destiny came to the Moorings last Saturday; and all was largely marvellous. You never know who you’ll bump into in the Moorings, or who’ll bump into you. Very hard.

A bespectacled baldy man made a spectacle of himself as he stumbled into my friend and I not long after we arrived.

This was no mean feat as we were standing well out of the way of the crowd against the wall by the pinball machine, and he had to cross the floor to get to us before he careened off in the other direction towards the loos. I thought he must be tripping (or at least that seemed his intention); if it had been accidental, I’ll avoid whatever he’d been drinking.

For that matter, an ‘excuse me’ was a bridge too far for our man as well, but then again he looked so very cool that he probably didn’t want to spoil his manly style by an admission of fallability. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought it was a deliberate attempt to recapture playground (or prison) glory days on his part, but surely not. Obviously it wouldn’t have been someone with a grudge.

Whatever the poor lad’s problem was, perhaps it will peter out. But nothing was going to spoil that evening, and nothing did. The little stumble was reported later, well after a most enjoyable night.

Elsewhere in the Granite Deen, our councillors are considerably more sure-footed, keeping us right. These well-balanced people have voted to tear down Victoria Road School, which otherwise would have been doomed to some community-buy out scheme or other, and the building re-used for the benefit of the locals. Not a good way to make as much profit as possible, I’m sure you’ll agree.

In truth, I can’t say the councillors all voted to tear the school down. Some such as Jim Kiddie, voted to keep the building. Clearly he’s not as quick on his feet as Torry Tory councillor Alan Donnelly, who voted to demolish. I’m sure the grateful public will thank Alan appropriately.

Not all the councillors voted to demolish it’s true – one managed to not vote at all. Labour’s Yvonne Allan decided it was best to represent her local constituents by – not voting at all.

This must have been a hard decision to stand up for the people who have nothing to say on the issue. Torry locals who wanted the site saved signed petitions in the thousands. And we all know what a petition gets you these days in Aberdeen. More on all this after the next Torry Community Council meeting, which promises to be quite a love-in as the harbour board’s plans for Torry domination – sorry improvement – will also get an airing.

For some reason, David Cameron seemed eager to distance himself from Lord Freud’s rational ideas

Things are equally as cheerful on the national scene, where well heeled Lord Freud bravely spoke out against the money-wasting benefits system. We’re actually still supporting people who have different abilities, physical and mental challenges as if they were worth paying a full day’s wage to.

For some reason, Lord Fraud is softening his stance at present, but he had this to say initially:

“Now, there is a small… there is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they’re not worth the full wage and actually I’m going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it’s working can we actually…”

If you haven’t guessed, with this sympathetic approach to giving people a living wage, Freud is our Welfare minister. And let’s face it – we have to admire his way with words.

I am trying to think hard if there are any other groups of people who don’t deserve a full day’s wage because they don’t do any proper work. If I do come up with any suggestions, I’ll lay them at Freud’s door.

For some reason, David Cameron seemed eager to distance himself from Lord Freud’s rational ideas.  I believe this is the same David Cameron who has done so much good for the disabled and ill with his ATOS assessment schemes.  I wonder why Cameron is against Freud – given Cameron’s track record, maybe Dave thinks £2 an hour is far too much salary.

But at this rate there will be as little room for definitions as there is for wildlife in the schemes being hatched. Therefore, on with a few timely terms.

Transatlantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP): (Modern English collective noun) a suite of trade deals between the EU and America beneficial to business.

It’s such a shame that in the 21st century people are still so resistant to change. There were actually people protesting against these schemes last weekend in several capital cities.

People are always afraid of what they don’t understand, it’s a human weakness. Therefore, it’s best we allow the EU and US governments to just keep the details of these schemes under wraps; no sense upsetting people. Just because the governments involved won’t let you vote on these agreements or let you know exactly what’s in them is no reason to think there’s anything undemocratic going on.

The Independent, a left-leaning, anti-capitalist UK publication, has printed some hurtful claims about these agreements.

I just hope that no company’s profit margins suffer because of the piece.  Sure a few minor changes to the NHS, taxes, corporate domination over soverign governments, increased spying on private communications will take some getting used to, but I’m sure something good will be on telly to take our minds off of it.

Child Poverty Map: (Modern English compound noun) An interactive map created by End Child Poverty, showing the UK’s disadvantaged children by geographic area.

I think it’s very helpful that this interactive map has been created; now we know what horrible, dreary areas we should be avoiding. Here are a few stats for Aberdeen areas, which for all our oil wealth clearly demonstrate we still have child poverty issues.

Perhaps workhouses would help, coupled with Lord Freud’s helpful suggestion that a £2 per hour wage is too good for some of them.

Westminster Parliamentary Constituency: Aberdeen North
Number of children in In-work poverty 2013: 2,287
Number of children in Out of work poverty 2013: 1,402
% of children in low income families AHC, 2013: 23.89%

Westminster Parliamentary Constituency: Aberdeen South
Number of children in In-work poverty 2013: 1,410
Number of children in Out of work poverty 2013: 618
% of children in low income families AHC, 2013: 14.39%

Map DataMap data ©2014 Google

If only there were some wealthy people around here who had some money to donate; Wood I could think of anyone who cared about the less fortunate.

I’m sure our council does the best it can with its finances, but you have to prioritise things. We’ve got hungry consultants to pay for (isn’t that right Chris Piper?), after all, those deer aren’t going to shoot themselves, and nothing is more important than trying to grow trees on a windswept garbage tip.   PricewaterhouseCoopers has to put food on the table as well, and we didn’t even give them a million pounds last year.

There was always for instance the chance that Victoria Road school could have been given, as requested, to the locals to run as a community centre; people old and young could have used it as a resource. Not that I’m suggesting we should have done anything radical or trendy like having a food bank. Not in good old Torry, where the money flows like the effluent from the sewerage works we were gifted with a few years back.

Now the city, the harbour board and Scottish Enterprise want to gift us with a much larger industrial scale harbour, and all it will cost us is the remaining open free public spaces Torry has. But it will create jobs, so we’re told (never mind the air quality, house prices and quality of living). Then perhaps some of these little urchins can start earning their keep.

It’s not as if we are planning to school them for anything other than vocational work in the energy sector (that’s if they’re lucky).

So please do have a look at the child poverty map.  Another thought comes to mind – if we’re to keep having Primark priced clothes at our disposal, then we may want to start getting some of these poor kids into factory work over here, that would be more jobs creation. Happily, I’m sure we have people already looking into this.

Next week (perhaps) a further look at NHS Grampian, The latest in Union Terrace Gardens, etc. Or perhaps a word on UKIP hopeful, who starved over 200 sheep to death – possibly while testing out one of UKIP’s future plans for us.

PS – for some reason, people are saying the distance from Haymarket to Waverly stations in Edinburgh is the same distance as Aberdeen’s train station to the inaccessible, dank, under-used Union Terrace Gardens.

The distance is just under a mile and a half between the two Edinburgh destinations, some 2,400 metres. Here, the distance is between 700 metres (from the closest point) ranging to 1,000 metres to the gentle, sloping entrance by the theatre, filled with druggies, drunks and other undesirables. The Edinburgh train journey between the two stations takes 5 minutes.

A journey from Aberdeen station to a proposed new station in UTG (which would be the thin edge of the wedge to building in our gardens) would be less than 45 seconds. But you’ve got to have your connectivity, don’t you – otherwise we’d have people walking around. Some might say Edinburgh is a city that requires a bit of walking, but we don’t want that sort of thing here.

There seem to be some groups wanting a train station in the gardens: I can promise any councillors reading this, there are many people and a group or two who definitely won’t sit by for such a nonsense, even if NESTRANS were to want to spend millions on a station so close to an existing one. Do keep that in mind, won’t you?

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