By Bob Smith.
A committee made up o MSPs
An American chiel named Carusone
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
By Bob Smith.
A committee made up o MSPs
An American chiel named Carusone
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s event’s in the ‘Deen and beyond and finds some bizarre and downright ugly situations worthy of protest. By Suzanne Kelly.
It’s been a pretty wild week here in the Granite Web City, and wilder still in the wider world. A man was killed in Torry; a man and two women are being held on suspicion of murder. Plans for thousands of homes will soon go on display for the Bridge of Don area.
The existing residents want to get rid of any remaining ‘underused’ green areas, and they cite the excellent road network and public transportation in support of this brilliant idea, one which won’t add to pollution, traffic congestion, urban sprawl or over-crowding at all. Result!
As I listen to Eels and enjoy a few half pints of Punk in BrewDog, I sadly realise the honeymoon is well and truly over between Donald and Alex. The Donald’s revelations in the news this week caused bafflement, amusement and anger.
Inexplicably, the facts seem to indicate Trump is telling the truth when he claims Salmond sought the bewigged New Yorker’s approval over the Megrahi affair. The shock of Trump implicated in telling the truth (however belatedly) is proving difficult for the public to deal with; coupled with the fact Trump actually kept quiet about anything (well, until now) the story is quite surreal. Alex is said to have turned salmond pink at the news.
Whether or not you think Megrahi was guilty or not (and there is evidence pointing to CIA involvement and evidence tampering), clearly the most important thing was to get the American public onside with the decision to repatriate him. And what better way to curry favour with the US than to show that their beloved leader and greatest political thinker, Donald Trump, was on message?
At the time of writing it is unclear whether or not Trump’s blessing for Scottish independence is being sought. I understand that the UN are appealing to him to end the Syria/Turkey crisis, and that NASA are asking him to back further space exploration. Rumours that Obama is asking Sir Alan Sugar to back health care reforms are unconfirmed. Alex Salmond is understood to be applying for slots on ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Ex-First Minister Factor’ and ‘It’ll be all right on the night (or not)’.
Here in the UK, the ConDems are pulling out all the stops to help workers. Thanks guys. They’re also pulling out all the employment rights too (more on that later).
Aside from asking workers to give up rights to fair treatment at work in exchange for company shares, a mandatory pension scheme for the lower waged is being phased in. You and your employer will pay into a mandatory pension scheme – unless you opt out. Sounds wonderful! However, looking this gift horse in the mouth would be my suggestion.
A little boy of 5 was treated like Bin Laden as he tried to get on a flight in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast
Of course, it should not concern you at all that this pension is linked to the stock market – what could possibly go wrong with your mandatory investment? It’s not as if markets can be unpredictable, or perish the thought, stocks can ever be manipulated (except perhaps allegedly by Piers Morgan).
Remember, the Government has your best interests at heart.
Across the pond, the Americans are gearing up for presidential elections. Debates are being held, flags being waved, and Homeland Security continues in its unchecked bid to reduce the country to a police state. A little boy of 5 was treated like Bin Laden as he tried to get on a flight in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast. Fair enough, he could have just been back from months in a terrorist training camp.
On the other hand, intrepid homeland security people managed to arrest someone after using clever deductive logic.
A US citizen flew in from Japan with slightly unusual luggage. According to the BBC, he wore a bullet proof vest, had knives, handcuffs, body bags, a smoke bomb, collapsible batons, leg irons, hatchet and a bio-hazard suit and mask. And flame-retardant trousers.
Old Susannah thinks there are at least three possibilities. One – he could have been intending on getting a rental car and driving out of the airport without getting mugged or carjacked. Two – he could have been about to visit his in-laws. By the way, when he boarded his flight in Japan, no one batted an eyelid at his personal effects.
Or possibility three – he was in Japan as part of the corralling, starvation, traumatising, and air-freighting dolphins and whales in Japan’s notorious Taji Cove.
For over 10 days a variety of marine mammals have been herded into a tiny area, and are being air-freighted all over the world to perform in aquariums.
Observers saw a young dolphin crammed into a sling, hoisted in the air and as it was chucked into a shipping container, it was crying (yes they do cry – they are social animals with feelings). Still, what could be more fun for the whole family than to watch an intelligent creature used to roaming the oceans confined instead to a 50 foot tank being forced to perform for your entertainment or be starved?
They were embarrassed, and took 45 minutes before giving me some propaganda on a CD
A San Diego Sea World Orca has a massive chunk taken out of its face; this they claim is just a little accident, and not the vicious bite it appears to be.
A dolphin in Japan similarly has a massive wound and appears ill.
You could be forgiven for thinking that these wild, beautiful creatures deserve to live in peace in the oceans, not being trapped in an unspeakably small Japanese cove in nets, waiting to be bought, starved or killed. But that’s what Japan’s up to. I guess we should be grateful Japan is not doing its famous ‘scientific’ experiments on these creatures (yet) – i.e. cooking them up.
The Taji Cove animals are often herded up and slaughtered – we’ll see if the slaughter is still to come. Please do feel free to protest to the Japanese embassy. (In fact some years ago I stopped into the London Japanese Embassy, and asked for information on their ‘scientific’ whaling project.
They were embarrassed, and took 45 minutes before giving me some propaganda on a CD. They were polite – but they seemed to not believe their own hype. It was like being at a LibDem convention). Here’s the embassy email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Old Susannah has many Japanese friends and since childhood has been interested in Japanese culture and history. But if this situation isn’t resolved now and the animals released, there won’t be any more aid from me going to Japan the next time it’s decimated by say a nuclear accident of its own making. Like many others, I donated over the Fukushima disaster.
I’m not amused by Japan’s failure to listen to the rest of the world begging it to release the animals, and I’m less amused to find out that the real root cause of Fukushima seems to have been corporate greed and mismanagement. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18751374
Go on Japan – release these animals, and stop perpetuating the idea of these highly intelligent animals being harmed for entertainment in aquariums.
A German observer was arrested; there is an international protest and presence in the area. In fact it’s been quite a fortnight for protests around the world. Some small, some large, some effectual, some laughable (but not the great pro Granite Web protest of course), and some resulting in shootings.
A few definitions are in order to try and deal with all this chaos.
Peaceful Protest: (compound noun, Eng.) An event or campaign conducted in a non-violent manner to bring about justice or social change.
A Pakistani girl of 14 is in hospital in a coma; she was shot by the Taliban for ‘promoting secularism’. To you and me, that means she wanted women to be able to get an education, possibly even choose their own husbands. Ah, these young people today.
No doubt she’ll grow out of it – if the Taliban don’t kill her. Young Yousafzai has been a peaceful protestor since the age of 11 – I guess that’s what happens when you let girls learn to read. Down with this sort of thing. I think she just needs a good husband. Probably true of those Pussy Riot girls too.
Pussy Riot have endured maltreatment, isolation and human rights denial. Serves them right – the protested against Putin – what’s not to like about Vlad?
As per usual, we have Annie Lennox siding with the Riot girls in support of their right to protest. If you remember, some pro Granite Web people wrote to the papers that Lennox had no right to have an opinion on the web as she no longer lived in Aberdeen. Therefore, Lennox and anyone else who’s not living in Russia or Pakistan has any right to champion the human rights of people living there. I’m happy to have cleared that up.
Keep in mind that our very own Gordon McIntosh (perhaps one of those unnamed city admin officials who the councillors are being mean to) wanted to curtail our right to protest in Aberdeen. Sadly, the council voted him down. No wonder he feels hard done by.
Putting these trouble-making teens and women to shame, there are far wiser, older, richer people with far greater human rights taking a stand in the UK for our freedoms. Let’s have a look at two of the higher-profile UK freedom warriors.
Yellowism: (noun) Belief shared by one person, Vladimir Umanets, that er, yellow is important. Or something.
While this upstart Pakistani girl was wasting her time on human rights campaigning in the face of a violent male-dominated terrorist organisation, brave Vladimir strode into the Tate Britain, and wrote some important words (which no one understands) on a multi-million pound Mark Rothko painting. Hero!
Rothko is only worth about $80 million, so no wonder the guards did nothing at the time. Umanets claims while he wrote on the valuable artwork, he didn’t ‘deface’ it. No doubt the principles of Yellowism, the cause he says he’s fighting for, are worth it, and Rothko would be happy. However, I’m not sure the gallery owners and the law will necessarily agree with Umanets.
Umanets follows in the courageous footsteps, well breaststrokes, of the brave Aussie who swam into the Thames last summer, ruining the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge.
Did he want to save whales, protest the banking crisis, stop Trident, champion Yellowism? No, he was combatting ‘elitism’, which came as a happy surprise to some of the less wealthy members of each team’s crew. Some of these people had to work their way through OxBridge, and had dedicated months to training for this event, but never mind. Elitism has been defeated!
To the less enlightened, these two protestors might look like self-centered, self-serving, neurotic, attention-seeking sad cases, but I’m sure history will show them for the heroes they are. Eventually.
Worker’s Rights: (compound noun) Basic principles protecting the rights of the employee from exploitation. (Price £2,000 plus).
Returning to the theme of all the great things the ConDems have done to us – sorry, for us – George Osborne’s great plans just keep on coming. Perhaps the best one yet is this new plan for workers to surrender their rights in exchange for company shares or a bit of cash. This scheme will unite the workers, unite political parties, end the economic crisis, ensure permanent prosperity, and probably guarantee a tree for every citizen.
You will sell any rights at work which took centuries to gain, and in return you’ll own a piece of the company you’re working for (however small or however lacking in real value). Rumours that employees will also be encouraged to sell their souls to Old Nick Clegg are as yet unconfirmed.
Have you discovered that your company is manipulating the LIBOR rates? Is your hospital board cutting corners? Are you working for a deranged man who brings a gun to work in Torry and shoots gulls out of his window (any resemblance to Mervyn New is purely coincidental)? Are you a long-suffering senior admin on ACC with councillors being mean and asking you to explain your actions?
Well, you’ll not be able to do anything about it.
For one thing, you’ll be a shareholder, and if you do anything to make your company look bad, you’ll be devaluing your own shares. This is what the ConDems are calling a ‘win-win’ situation. Old Susannah may well have to re-examine what ‘win-win’ means, because either the LibDems or I am confused. Must be me.
Next week: a closer look at the ‘independent’ report saying mean councillors must be nice to the saintly city council officials – and perhaps a bit of financial news, too.
The Aberdeen City Youth Council’s 2012 annual general meeting was key to the body’s future, with an external audit announced and three new office-bearers elected.
Councillor Ross Grant announced his commitment to undertaking the audit, which will examine the workings and effectiveness of the representative body and propose changes for the group to undertake.
Kris Chapman was successfully elected as Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, alongside Aberdeen College Student President Lani Baird who is the ACYC’s new Equality and Diversity Officer, and Justin Rheiner who now holds the office of Recruitment Officer.
After the meeting, Rebecca Lindsay was co-opted by the office-bearer team as the organisation’s new secretary.
At the AGM, around 30 members also signed up to new committees, including the Education sub-committee which aims to directly scrutinise the work of Aberdeen City Council’s Education, Culture and Sport committee. Youth Councillors Kenneth Watt, Barry Black and Rebecca Lindsay are to meet with ECS convener Jenny Laing next week on ways to make this relationship work well.
Speaking about the external audit, Councillor Grant said,
“I am very honoured to be able to assist the Aberdeen City Youth Council in their upcoming audit of their operations. The Youth Council has been increasingly pro-active and hard working on a great number of issues including increased participation in the Community Planning Process, Student Issues and other areas where young people have a very important role to play.’
‘This Audit will allow the Youth Council to look at what it is doing well and what needs to be improved to continue its effective role in representing young people in Aberdeen City and beyond. I very much look forward to working with the Youth Council.”
As the new recruitment officer, Justin Rhiener said,
“The future of the group is in new members and it is my role to increase the number of youth councillors. In the next few weeks, I’ll be working with the team to get leaflets out to schools for the next academic year and looking at a campaign launch in September which is going to be revealed next week.”
Chair Ashleigh O’Connor-Hanlon (pictured) spoke about the AGM, “I’m very pleased with the three new office-bearers and am looking forward to seeing the skills they bring to the organisation benefit the young people of Aberdeen. The next few months will see the group being examined thoroughly and I’m honoured to have Cllr Grant on board to lead this process.”
In the wake of the local council elections in which the issue of developing Union Terrace Gardens appeared to play a major role, Craig Adams was compelled to write to the newly elected council ahead of a meeting which may well determine the progress of the City Garden Project. Craig shares his letter with Aberdeen Voice readers.
I’m guessing that many of you will long ago have formed your own personal opinion on the project, whilst others will, like your constituents, remain in two minds.
Instead, this email will concentrate on issues surrounding the recent public referendum.
I am not a supporter of any particular political party. At local elections I vote solely on the credibility and apparent integrity on the individual candidates. In national elections I usually spoil my ballot paper (and make no excuses for doing so). There is no political agenda here.
Many experts are sceptical of referendums, a view that some of you no doubt share. The purpose of representative democracy is largely to ensure that the people taking the decisions have thoroughly researched the details. Few people voting in a referendum are unlikely to be as well – informed.
It’s somewhat counter-intuitive that the larger the response to a referendum, the less informed the decision is likely to be. While referendums are a necessary part of democracy they are only appropriate under certain circumstances, and must be applied with great discretion.
Referendums work best when the facts are few and the choice is simple. A divided result is not a good outcome. There also needs to be a clearly defined winning line, its position determined by the context of what is being proposed.
There were several other issues surrounding the referendum on The City Garden Project, beyond whether or not it was appropriate or conclusive. The first was the wording of the question. I recall as a teenager going shopping with my mother for a new school uniform. The trousers that she picked were unfashionable. She told me “well it’s either those or you go to school in your underpants”.
The referendum question was loaded in a similar way, in that it ignored any option for Union Terrace Gardens other than Sir Ian Wood’s desired outcome. The implication being – this or nothing. The propaganda that followed reinforced the message that Union Terrace Gardens would be left to rot unless the CGP was built. In my experience the electorate were not split into two camps as has been suggested, rather there were those who wanted:
(a) the CGP
(b) some sort of improvement
(c) any sort of improvement except the CGP
(d) UTG restored and improved or
(e) no money spent at all
You’ve doubtless encountered that same spectrum of views amongst your constituents.
The question was not a good fit for public sentiment. On the subject of Scottish independence it is claimed that minor syntactical changes could be worth a swing of 15%. While it’s debatable whether that figure is accurate, there’s no doubt that choice of wording does exert significant influence. In this case it’s not inconceivable that it exerted enough influence to alter the outcome.
The second issue concerns the fairness of the PR spend. The original consultation process was entirely about The City Garden Project. The design contest was also wholly about the CGP. Both of those exercises were orchestrated by a PR company. There’s also the whole controversy surrounding the ‘unregistered CGP campaign group'(?) who leafleted every home in the city.
Taking everything into account it’s clear that there was a substantial disparity in PR spend, and that is simply not fair. The problem with this is that it gives the wealthy and powerful the impression that PR companies can engineer referendums to produce specific outcomes, and that it boils down to a matter of risk vs. reward. Allowing that to pass without comment introduces a dangerous precedent.
Finally there is the issue around the integrity of the result. The Returning Officer has not permitted anyone to examine the marked register. While that position may comply with the specific lettering of ‘a law’, it certainly does not adhere to the spirit of The Law. This is extremely pertinent as the result was close and there is considerable contention surrounding various aspects of the voting.
For those reasons I’d like to make two basic points surrounding the referendum on The City Garden Project:
1) A referendum was not appropriate in this instance.
2) A poorly fitting, badly worded question and one-sided PR spend, resulted in an outcome that was far from conclusive.
Based on the above, and also taking into account questions over the integrity of the vote, it is clear that the course of this referendum was perverted. In my opinion, the closeness of the result, combined with disagreement over what constitutes conclusive, and the questions surrounding it’s integrity, effectively render the outcome of the referendum invalid…
…however from the result it can be inferred that the public are in favour of improving the gardens – just as they are generally in favour of regenerating the rest of the city centre, but we didn’t really need a referendum to discern that truth.
What I’m asking you to do, is to set aside the outcome of this disastrous referendum when you vote on the future of Union Terrace Gardens, and instead vote for whatever you believe is both right for this city, and truly representative of what people want. That’s why we elected you.
Walk in the Light
With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.
A new cloud covers the controversial Union Terrace Gardens Referendum today, as a care home worker came forward with concerns about postal votes sent to a residential home.
Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly is researching further, and contacted the elections officer, and the other recognised campaigning organisations on the issue.
Kelly asked the elections officer for the marked Register to be checked with a view to how many care home residents returned votes, and whether there are any unusual voting patterns. However, the elections officer’s position is that “it would be illegal for me to provide this in terms of the Representation of the People(Scotland) Regulations 2001.” In an election relevant parties would normally be able to view the marked Register.
Crawford Langley, the Elections Officer for the Union Terrace Gardens referendum vote, previously contacted the police over potential postal vote fraud in May 2005 when he was elections officer and a small number (between 6 and 12) of anomalies arose, where people appeared not to have received their postal vote forms.
Langley was quoted at the time as saying:
“We are talking about a very small number but, given the publicity elsewhere and the tight ship we run in elections in Aberdeen, it was sufficiently unusual that I needed to do something about it.”
The controversial referendum, which was over the future of Aberdeen’s Victorian Union Terrace Gardens, gave residents a choice to either ‘retain’ the gardens, or to endorse a £140 million pound scheme called the Granite Web. This entails the city obtaining a £70 million pound TIF loan, which will be matched by Sir Ian Wood / The Wood Family Trust (£50 million), £5 million from an anonymous donor, and another £15 from as-yet unnamed private sources. The TIF scheme is still in trial stages in Scotland.
many feel the media bombardment influenced the vote
The referendum was dogged by controversy. Official campaigning groups were entitled to place a 300 word essay into the voting pack, and had to adhere to strict expenditure limits.
The Green Party’s statement was not printed in full. Also controversial were the actions of a ‘secretive’ group (as described by a BiG Partnership employee) known as ‘Vote for the City Gardens Project.’ This federation of businessmen and women, who prefer to remain anonymous, are thought to have spent tens of thousand of pounds to promote the City Garden Project Granite Web.
Their glossy, A3 full colour brochure went to households in Aberdeenshire which were not eligible to vote as well as to City residents. The group also issued a four-page newspaper format item, and had several full-page spreads in the local press. Local radio stations broadcast pro City Garden Project commercials. None of the officially recognised campaigning groups would have been able to afford such a campaign, and many feel the media bombardment influenced the vote.
The materials produced by the group used projections by PriceWaterhouse Coopers to claim the scheme would create over 6,500 permanent jobs and mean £122 million to the local economy every year until 2023. Those who tried to contest these projections being used as fact found that the Vote for the City Gardens Project group was not accountable either to the elections officer or the Advertising Standards Agency. Other points of contention have been brought to the election officer’s notice as well.
Willie Young of the Labour Party, who were an official campaigning organisation, had this to say:
“We really do need to see the mark register so we can prove to ourselves that the referendum was run correctly. In a democracy we need checks and balances and the Electoral Commission is clear that those involved in an election should be given access to the mark register. I am not suggesting anything is untoward, but it is our right to make sure that it isn’t. We are baffled by the stance taken by the counting officer”.
Suzanne Kelly commented:
“It is abundantly clear to me why my source wishes to stay anonymous. They are keen to continue in the job they love, and are all too aware of what can happen to a whistle-blower. This issue is still being investigated, but I thought bringing it to the election officer’s attention immediately was the right thing to do. This is why we need to check the votes sent to all of our residential care homes – we must ensure no one has been exploited and no votes have gone astray. Were all the votes sent to the homes used, and if not, what percentage went unused? Did the vote split at the residential homes echo the nearly 50–50 split the total vote saw? If not, then further research will be needed.
There is at present no allegation of any wrong doing by any individual – but it is clear that we need to have the transparency we were always promised concerning Union Terrace Gardens, but which we so sadly lacked. We’ve seen redacted minutes – minutes where lines of text have been ‘blacked out’ to keep the public in the dark. Why should there be any secrecy over what is common good land?”
Kelly was chair of one of the recognised campaigning organisations (‘Democracy Watch’) and has been liaising with other campaigners; a number of issues remain over the referendum, and these will be reviewed soon.
Old Susannah reviews the news of Aberdeen’s who’s who for you, blow by blow.
A chilly wind blows through town today; it is almost as if the very heavens are in sympathy with Mr Milne, who has lost his £1.7 million pound battle in the Supreme Court.
Who’d have thought it possible? It’s not as if Mr Milne is used to having any losses. So – what’s been going on this week?
The answer is Blowin in the Wind.
Wind Damage: (compound noun) damage to person, property or land caused by extremes in atmospheric wind speed.
The winds have knocked down our brand new City Holiday lights as well, which don’t seem quite so vibrant even if they were briefly very dynamic as they crashed to the ground. Don’t you worry – I am sure that the City has these brand new lights fully insured.
I don’t know if our ever-dwindling Common Good fund bore the cost of these fabulous lights (I feel better looking at them and bet you do, too), but I know it was money well spent. Then again, it could have been bought from BiD money, the wonderful scheme wherein some city centre shops voted to stump up money to clean up our high street.
Who could have ever guessed that a gust of wind could show up in the Northeast of Scotland in December, and that giant balls might not have been the best thing to hang over the heads of our pedestrians? I would say it is a massive ‘balls up’, but sadly, the balls are going down. I shall think on these lights fondly, as I realise this was the best possible expenditure the City could have made.
(I will put out of my mind the story that a homeless person may have died from exposure on our beach. The city can’t pay for everything, you know).
Blown off Course: (phrase) To have a person or thing forced off of its course by adverse wind conditions.
Also because of the wind, there is one less bird of prey at the Scottish Parliament. A peregrine falcon was being exercised, and a gust of wind blew it off course; it was lost. Some pigeon fancier who lived very nearby took his trusty gun and blasted this annoying falcon out of the skies. I guess we’d best re-prioritise and start protecting our endangered pigeons.
Mr Hutchison, of Newmills, Fife, was found guilty of maliciously shooting and killing a working falcon with a .22 air rifle. Nice work!
Under the Wind: (phrase) to be in a place protected from the wind
And where in Aberdeen can one (in normal circumstances) avoid strong winds? Why in the sheltering Denburn Valley of course, otherwise known as Union Terrace Gardens. It is currently a valley, but we are told it must be raised to the level of the rest of Union Street. It’s this valley that is the cause of all of our woes. Nit-picking people might ask what will this fantastic public square be like with gale force winds blowing across its flat street-level surface.
I think it might just get a little windy. Still, we will all be sheltering under the glass worm. Even if the drawings of this glass thing show that it is open at the bottom and sides, there is no reason to think it won’t be a really cozy place to enjoy your frappucino. I might not be that comfortable on the monorail John Stewart proposes when the winds blow 90 mph, but I’ll certainly be on it as often as I can otherwise.
Gusts: (noun) short, strong bursts of wind.
Old Susannah was on the road to and from Peterhead today, and thought it was a bit windy. How wonderful – for who loves wind more than the rich and famous? Rock stars, actors and actresses, millionaires – these people of course love the winds of north Scotland in winter. With Mr Trump soon to open the universe’s greatest golf course, the jet-setting rich will be queuing up for a place in the holiday homes in the winter months.
I can just imagine Brad and Angelina walking hand-in-hand on the shore in the kind of weather we’re having right now. These resort visitors will be very important gusts indeed.
Hello! Magazine will have to open a branch office in Aberdeen once Donald’s up and running. Just as well he fixed those previously moving sand dunes! They might have moved! With Don jun (junior Donald Trump – a child or clone I think) on hand this week to see things through, we’ll be rolling in dosh and created jobs before you know it. There is only one obstacle left to conquer.
Windmills: (noun) devices for capturing energy from wind and harnessing it for practical purposes.
We will not have these important VIPS if we also go ahead and build windmills that they might actually have to look at while they stroll the no-longer-moving sand dunes in February. As the 90 mile per hour wind howls in their faces as they attempt to golf before the sun goes down at 4pm, the last thing we want to do is make them look at windmills. These offshore Satanic mills must be stopped at all costs. The offshore wind turbines must not go ahead – but is there someone up to the job?
Blowhard: (noun) a person who boasts or brags in an irritating fashion. A loud, brash, showy individual.
I know Donald Trump has a very large staff working round the clock on his successful developments. I only hope there is somewhere hidden in the Donald Trump organisation someone who is a blowhard who can stand up against the windfarm plans. If anyone with any experience of the Donald Trump organisation can think of anyone in it who can be a bit of an obnoxious, aggressive irritating blowhard, please get in touch.
Blowing hot and cold: (phrase) to have contradictory characteristics
You could have been forgiven for thinking Mr Milne had some nerve taking us to the Supreme Court. It would be unkind to suggest such a thing.
Person or persons unknown in Aberdeen City Council sold him land at a discount for a fraction of its cost, and he agreed to share any profit. It’s not Stew’s fault i selling this land (worth £5.6 million which cost him all of £375,000) meant his legal costs were over £500,000. It must have been complex, selling land from your left hand to your right hand – the companies involved were Milne entities. Why exactly he had to sell from one part of his empire to another is a business matter we couldn’t possibly understand. It might look as if he wanted to avoid sharing profit with Aberdeen City, but I am sure that was the furthest thing from his mind.
Our City council tells us it always gets value for money. Fantastic. Our city council sold Milne land for some 5,225,000 less than it was worth. Our city council cannot possibly afford a referendum on whether or not to build a giant worm and/or monolith where we have the Denburn Valley.
I could be wrong, but on the odd occasion I think ACC just might blow hot and cold.
Putting the Wind up: (phrase) to make nervous or upset.
Attention councillors: the elections are in May. This may put the wind up some of you. You know who you are. Gerry Brough is getting the wind up as well – he wants the garden project underway before the elections. I don’t think so Ger. Some council officers might want to start clearing their desks (and no doubt shredding documents) soon, too.
Next week: Part 1 of ‘An Aberdeen Christmas Carol’ (with apologies to Charles Dickens). Unfortunately I am at a loss as to what local I can possibly cast as a mean, domineering, money-loving megalomaniac. No doubt something will come to me, touch wood.