Jun 272014

Aberdeen Based Charity Future Choices had the best news lately. Apache Oil have donated a brand new bus. With thanks to David Forbes.

bus12cThe bus donation came after the Disabled Charity was featured in a BBC2 Documentary last year called “Auction Hero”, in which Presenter/Auctioneer Andrew Lamberty went all across Europe to buy and sell antiques, then donated the profits to the Charity.

The self funding charity is run by volunteers and helps provide social inclusion and recreational activities at Inchgarth Community Centre in Garthdee.

Representatives from Apache Oil saw the Documentary and were extremely impressed by the groups work and dedication within the community and wanted to help their cause. The new brand new 17 seater bus, equipped for disabled access, has now given Future Choices a better chance of helping more disabled people, most of whom are stuck in their homes, limiting scope for social contact.

David Forbes, Chairman of Future Choices described the news as:

“The turning point to the Charity, knowing Apache Oil has helped give us the tools to carry on with our hard work, it just means everything. So many people, especially those who just want out and have fun with friends, can now do that. Future Choices is there to help put those smiles and laughter back on the faces” 

The Charity is always looking for Volunteers to help out at their group gatherings on Tuesdays from 11-2 at Inchgarth Community Centre.

If you want to become a volunteer or simply want to join the charity to meet new people, then contact David on 07821700046 or email info@future-choices.org.uk or visit their website at www.future-choices.org.uk 

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 252014

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

ALL_SHAPES_FINAL_CS_SQ2 North 4 South is a fundraising event to raise money for individuals with learning disabilities in Aberdeen.

On the 31st of May & the 1st of June, a group of around 70 people will be walking non-stop, or with minimum stops, from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen over 24 hours.
The money they raise will be used to provide ‘fun’ for learning disabled people, such as musical instruments, movies, arts & crafts materials, and so on.

One of the organisers, Frederick Sarran commented about people with learning disabilities in our area, saying:-

 “We, All Shapes And Sizes (ASAS), believe they need more than just ‘care’.”

 The charity’s Facebook charity page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/asascharity; its aims are set out as:

 “Our aim is to enrich the lives of ALD’s by promoting social inclusion by means of outings and activities such as Arts and Crafts and more.”

Many of those doing the walk work with people with learning disabilities, young and old, but anyone who is up to the challenge is welcome to get in touch with the organisers and join in.

ASAS sets out its principles on its website:

 “Our vision is to enhance life of Adults with Learning Disabilities/Difficulties (ALD) and mental health issues by promoting social inclusion to those individuals and to raise awareness & understanding to the public. By enhancing their lives & sense of wellbeing is to become a valued member of society via inclusion in all things.

 “We aim to use a person centred approach directly to one individual and/or within a group, in order to aid & help facilitate crafts, arts, outings and other future activities within Balnagask Court (Aberdeen) and in the wider community. To enhance a sense of personal well being is to educate with a therapeutic approach and fun means, this results in building trust and confidence.

“Our values are to treat all individuals with respect and courtesy regardless of colour, gender, religion, etc… We act with dignity & care in a non-judgmental way towards all individuals, no matter of the level of difficulties they may have. Those values also apply towards each other members of All Shapes And Sizes.

  “Our goals are to branch out and liaise with other charities sharing our values, for the good of all Adults with Learning Disabilities/Difficulties and mental health service users within the wider community. We aim to introduce further activities and continuous improvements to Balnagask Court communal area.”

There is a Facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/237388926444110/
Tickets for the event are available here: http://asascharity.org/buy-tickets-for-2-north-4-south/

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jan 022014

With thanks to Elaine Pilmoor. Family fund_Logo_40th

The Family Fund is a registered charity that gives grants to families raising a disabled or seriously ill child aged 17 and under.

Funded by grants, the charity brings practical and essential help, such as washing machines, fridges, bedding, specialist toys and much needed family breaks, which can often offer a lifeline to eligible families. Using their own eligibility criteria, The Family Fund tries to ensure that it provides help to families in the most need and last year supported 5,515 low-income families in Scotland. To find out more about The Family Fund you are invited to visit their website www.familyfund.org.uk You can also contact them for an application pack at info@familyfund.org.uk, by telephone at 0844 974 4099, or you can use the contact us page on their website.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 062013

By Duncan Harley.


Nelson Mandela. 1918 – 2013

Mandela was awarded the freedom of the city of Glasgow. My sons met him outside Glasgow City Chambers, just after the ceremony but were then too young to recall the smiling eyes of the man and the air of peace and gentle power he generated.

Before his presidency, Mandela was of course an anti-apartheid activist and high ranking leader of the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, translated “Spear of the Nation.”

Following his 27 years or so in prison on convictions for various crimes including sabotage but not murder, Nelsons switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation led the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa.

Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even by former opponents.

In a speech at the City Chambers in Glasgow on 9 October 1993, Mandela said:

“While we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city 6,000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, refused to accept the legitimacy of the apartheid system, and declared us to be free.”

Thank you Nelson.

You changed the world.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Nov 082013

By Sean McVeigh.

Radical Independence Campaign

Aberdeen’s Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) group will be hosting an open evening at 1830 in Woodside Fountain Centre on Thursday 14 November.

It will be a chance to discuss local issues and how they relate to Scottish independence, with people from diverse backgrounds.

RIC is hoping for plenty of questions and lively conversation about the kind of Scotland it wants to build.

The Radical Independence Conference will take place in Glasgow on Saturday 23 November. Last year’s conference attracted over 900 people from across Scotland. This year’s event is shaping up to be even bigger, with more discussion and more practical ideas.

Transport will be available from Aberdeen.

RIC is working for a Yes vote in 2014 as the first step towards a fairer, greener Scotland. It is built on six key visions:

  • Scotland can be a participative democracy, where no-one’s view is worth more because they have money.
  • Scotland can be a society of equality, where poverty is not accepted and tax redistributes wealth.
  • Scotland can be a just economy, where profit never justifies damaging people and the environment.
  • Scotland can be a great welfare state, where from cradle to grave society cares for all.
  • Scotland can be a good neighbour, where we seek to work with nations around the world to resolve global inequality, climate change and conflict.
  • Scotland can be a moral nation, where mutuality, cooperation and fellowship define our relationships.

RIC believes that UK politics has robbed Scotland from the Scottish people and that a Yes vote is the first step in getting it back.

RIC on facebook
Telephone: 07813085896

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jul 182013

By Bob Smith.

Eck Salmond he is maist upset
Wi the fowk at Muirfield links
He’s nae gyaan tae The Open
Membership policy he feels stinks  

Fer ‘ears an ‘ears iss golf club
An aboot iss they’re nae kiddin
Throwe the portals o the clubhoose 
The fair sex they are forbidden 

Is wee Eck noo a feminist
Or is’t jist a publicity stunt
Tae get aa the weemin’s votes
As independence he dis punt

Noo masel I hiv iss view
Golf clubs policy it shud be
Fer baith sexes tae jine up
An nae jist on the tee 

Bit Muirfield is a private club
So his a richt its ain rules tae mak
If it wints jist mannies only
We’ll jist hae tae cut some slack 

Maybe they’ve the richt idea
Fin aboot their game they’re braggin
Enjoyin the odd gin or twa
Free fae bliddy wifie’s naggin 

Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated

Jul 082013

With thanks to Claire McBain.

Semi-retired and retired Aberdonians David Gillanders and Gordon Hutcheon officially revealed Miss Moneypenny, their ‘banger’ for the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally, a nail-biting cross-country adventure.
Their sponsorship target is £6,000 to make sure children with complex additional support needs, most further challenged by autism, can follow their dreams at north-east social care charity VSA’s Linn Moor Residential School.

To qualify and participate in the rally ‘bangers’ must simply have four wheels and not exceed a value of £250.

Pilot and former British rally champion David said:

“We’ll be in a car capable of doing 50mph and blowing up at any moment.  It’s very different from what I’m used to.  We start on Wednesday 10 July travelling 600 miles from Aberdeen to the Euro Tunnel in a seventeen-year-old Nissan Micra. 

“On Thursday we’ll arrive in Saint Quentin, France where the rally officially begins.  The next day we’ll travel a further 250 miles to Dijon, France.  Another 300 miles will take us through Switzerland to Turin, Italy on Saturday.  And Sunday’s final 165-mile push will take us, hopefully, to the finish in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 14 July.  It coincides with Bastille Day, which means we won’t be the only ones in the party spirit.

“You’re judged on how much you spend in comparison to how good the car looks.  It’s all relative.  With being dealt race number 007, what else could we call her but Miss Moneypenny?  True to her character, we painted her jet black with big red lips on the bonnet.

“Because Gordon is involved with VSA and I like Aberdeen-based charities, particularly involving children, it was a no brainer.  Our primary objective is to raise as much money as possible for Linn Moor but it’s going to be an amazing experience.”

 Co-pilot Gordon who chairs VSA’s ball committee, said:

“If you haven’t been lucky enough to personally experience it, Linn Moor is a very special place.  People with autism have said they see the world as a mass of people, places and events that they struggle to make sense of. 

“But at Linn Moor the committed staff nurture the unique abilities, strengths and talents of young people aged five to 18.  It’s a truly incredible service.  But it depends largely on voluntary income to make its students’ lives as fun, meaningful and educational as possible.  We’re over the moon to be able to help.”

 Wendy Milne, registered care manager at Linn Moor Residential School, said:

“VSA is a huge, varied charity so it’s always touching when people choose to support Linn Moor specifically.  We love to hear about people tackling ambitious personal challenges while fundraising for us so it’s amazing to have David and Gordon on board.  Generous efforts like this are essential to keep giving our students the best care, support and education possible.”

To support VSA’s Linn Moor School through David and Gordon’s adventure please visit:  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/GordonandDavidMonteCarloChallenge

Jul 052013

The politically incorrect nature of chicory based coffee substitute. By Duncan Harley.

An Aberdeenshire recruitment consultant was recently stunned when her job advert for reliable and hardworking applicants was rejected by the job centre as it could be offensive to unreliable and lazy people.

An Aberdeen T shirt retailer was also left stunned when during the last World Cup, police turned up to investigate his racist T-shirts which read “ABE” meaning “Anyone But England.”

Even Donald Trump of Trump International Golf Course, Aberdeen has been slated for apparently having said “I have a great relationship with the blacks.”

The Robertson’s Jam Golliwog badges of yesteryear, which were beloved by those of a certain age, are out; as are those politically incorrect Big Black Sambo money banks which of course many of our grandparents owned but which can now only be viewed in the backroom of the local antique shop, lest they cause offence or lead to litigation.

Political correctness marches on it seems. Folk can think what they want in private of course since that is the nature of democracy, but woe betide anyone who, like that Duke of Edinburgh man, crosses the boundary between the acceptable and the not quite so acceptable, unless you are royal of course.

The good prince who is aged 92 and balding, on meeting a Scot’s driving instructor gaffed ‘how on earth do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get a license’ and equally famously while chatting to a class of British exchange students in Xian, in the Peoples Republic of China quipped ‘don’t stay here too long or you’ll go slanty eyed’.

Political correctness is here to stay however, so we might as well all get used to it. It sometimes causes us to lie silently instead of saying what we think but as an ongoing process it does bring about changes in culture which hopefully in the long term may enable us to look back and be amazed at the views of ourselves, our parents and our grandparents.

Removing the black Jelly Babies from the box and putting some real coloured folks into the cast of the Black and White Minstrel Show is one thing. However the actions of the manufactures of Camp Coffee go a few steps beyond and above on that score.

Dating back to around 1886, Camp Coffee is a thick black syrupy substance which was originally made in the good city of Glasgow by Paterson and Sons Ltd.

A “secret blend of sugar, water, coffee and chicory essence”, it came enclosed in a tall glass bottle with a label depicting a Gordon Highlander officer sitting kilted and sporraned atop a comfy cushion drinking a cup of Camp, while a turbanned Sikh servant stood obediently next to him, holding a silver tray with a bottle of Camp and a jug. The white military issue tent in the background was topped by a fluttering pennant emblazoned with the words ‘Ready Aye Ready’, while helpful instructions on the reverse urged Camp drinkers to ‘Stir one teaspoonful of Camp into each cupful of boiling water, then add cream and sugar to taste. Made with heated milk but not boiled, it is delicious’ read the blurb.

This was of course the world’s first instant coffee and the marketing was deeply manly and heroically suggestive of a sort of colonial luxury based on the right of the people of Britain to reap the good harvest of Victoria’s Empire!

Not much wrong with that perhaps. Well for a start, in those days the word Camp probably referred to the camp that the soldier on the label lived in as opposed to any other more recent meaning.

He was known as ‘Fighting Mac’ for his exploits at the battle of Omdurman

Also, in those days, the servant with the tray with his proud but of course respectful attitude towards his betters, was just what any Scottish officer serving abroad in the Gordon Highlanders would have expected given his rank and high position.

The officer in question was in fact based on a real life Gordon Highlander. Seemingly he was none other than Major General Sir Hector McDonald. The son of a humble crofter, Hector had worked his way up through the ranks of the Gordon regiment serving with distinction in the second Afghan War and in also in India.

He was known as ‘Fighting Mac’ for his exploits at the battle of Omdurman, where the Gordon’s had bravely deployed forty single-barrelled, water-cooled Maxim machine-guns, each capable of firing six hundred rounds a minute.

These were used to massacre an army of 60,000 lightly armed Sudanese Ansars, referred to as Dervishes in Gordon Highlander military speak, on a plain near Omdurman in the Sudan in what was to be a dry run for the set piece battles of the 1914-18 war.

The Gordons left the enemy wounded to die and amazingly refused them medical aid. A young war correspondent by the name of Winston Churchill reported that the Sudanese army resembled nothing so much as a “twelfth-century Crusader army armed with spears, swords, and with hundreds of banners embroiderd with Koranic texts.”

What has all that to do with coffee? Well, over the decades, the label on Camp Coffee has undergone some subtle but significant changes.

From the early days of the servile but proudly turbaned Sikh servant, the Camp Coffee label has morphed into a new and quite radical label portraying the Sikh servant and Major General Sir Hector McDonald sitting side by side enjoying a well deserved relaxed cuppa as equals.

Observers have however noted that on the way to this politically correct meeting of equals, there have been a few changes to the label over the years. In the 1980’s for example, the silver tray disappeared and the Sikh servant was left standing with his left arm by his side, while his right arm remained in its original under tray position. At least now he has been granted a well deserved seat.

No one really knows who the servant was, although no doubt he did exist. As for Major General Sir Hector McDonald, he was wounded in the second Boer War and later given command of the regiment’s troops in Ceylon where charges of homosexuality were brought against him.

He shot himself in a Paris hotel in 1903.


Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.


Jun 062013

With thanks to Kubra Boza.

Students from the Stop AIDS Campaign Aberdeen were out on the street in city centre last Saturday to raise awareness of their twitter campaign which started on Thursday 6th June.

Along with other Stop AIDS campaigners from across UK universities, they took pictures with the public holding up a giant #theworldiswatchingnow eyeball placard and encouraged them to tweet Justine Greening, the UK Secretary of State for International Development.

The campaign is to push the UK to increase their contribution to the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

The Global Fund is a transparent and innovative financing institution that provides funding to support programs that prevent, treat and care for people with HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria all over the world.

Currently the Global Fund needs to raise $15 billion to meet the needs for these devastating diseases for the next three years.

Azam Ismail, the president of Student Stop AIDS Aberdeen said:

“The USA has pledged to give $5 billion but only if the other countries give the remaining $10 billion.  

“We realise that £1 billion is a big sum of money, but it is absolutely essential for the UK to step up their contributions in order to ensure that the USA keep their promise and the Global Fund can reach their target.

“We encourage everyone to join us in tweeting @JustineGreening on Thursday to let her know you care and that the world is watching now”

The Student Stop AIDS campaign advocates for global access to HIV medication, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

It is a network of over 30 student societies all of which are a part of a national Stop AIDS Campaign, a coalition of over 60 UK NGOs and trade unions.

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/abdnStopAIDS
Twitter:          @StopAIDSAbdn

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
May 212013

With thanks to Doug Haywood.

The Aberdeen Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) will be holding a People’s Assembly in the Foyer from 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 25th May.

This is a chance for people to come together, share ideas, ask questions and discuss the kind of Scotland that we want to build.

The event is free and speakers will include John Finnie MSP, Susan Archibald the Disability Rights Campaigner, Maggie Chapman a Green Party Councillor, Jill from Aberdeen Against Austerity and Euan Benzie from the local RIC group.

Aberdeen RIC was set up following the national Radical Independence Conference in November last year which agreed a Declaration that is explicit about what we need for the citizens of Scotland.

The UK is the 4th most unequal country in the developed world.   Alistair Darling, head of the NO campaign has said that Labour will cut “tougher and deeper” than Thatcher.  No matter who is in power in Westminster, a fairer society will not be on their agenda and the worst of the austerity cuts are still to come.

A YES vote in 2014 is the first step towards a fairer Scotland.  This is not just a campaign for independence but a campaign for a better Scotland which we believe can only begin with independence.

We are tired of complaining about Britain – it is time to talk about what Scotland can be.

Scotland can be a participative democracy.

  • Where no-one’s view is worth more because they have money.
  • Where financial interests don’t drown out the voices of the people.
  • Where decision-making belongs to the many and not just an elite.
  • Where communities are not told what they will be given but decide what they need.
  • Where our institutions are reformed to include the people in their governance.
  • Where the media is balanced, education creates active citizens and information is free to all.

Scotland can be a society of equality.

  • Where poverty is not accepted.
  • Where pay gaps are small and poverty wages are ended.
  • Where tax redistributes wealth.
  • Where no human attribute is a justification for discrimination and prejudice. Where human rights are universal.

Scotland can be a just economy. 

  • Where profit never justifies damaging people and the environment.
  • Where essential industries are owned by all and not exploited by the few.
  • Where workers have the right to fair treatment and to defend themselves.
  • Where industrial democracy makes better businesses.
  • Where investment is for development, not for speculation.

Scotland can be a great welfare state.

  • Where the social contract is not between the state and the people but between the people themselves.
  • Where from cradle to grave society cares for all regardless.
  • Where delivering more and better social services is the national priority, not austerity.
  • Where the government of the people is never used to create private wealth.

Scotland can be a good neighbour.

  • Where we seek to work with nations around the world to resolve global inequality, climate change and conflict.
  • Where we never join international alliances for exploitation and war.
  • Where we work to reform and democratise multinational institutions.
  • Where we see our deeds, our national culture and our values as a message of hope.

Scotland can be a moral nation.

  • Where mutuality, cooperation and fellowship define our relationships.
  • Where we are good stewards of our country and hand it on to the next generation in a better state than we inherit it.
  • Where our values are not dominated by greed, selfishness and disregard for others but by patience, generosity, creativity, peacefulness and a determination to be better.

This is a Scotland which British politics has robbed from the Scottish people.  We want it back!

Our future is unknown, which is good.  Only in uncertainty can hope and possibility prosper.

We choose the chance to fight for a better Scotland; we reject the offer to endure more of the same indefinitely. We are socialists, feminists, trade unionists, greens. We are from the peace movement, from anti-poverty campaigns, from anti-racists groups. We are community activists, civil liberty campaigners, the equalities movement and more.

This is going to be a lively afternoon and we hope that as many people as possible will come to ask questions and contribute to the conversation.

The Aberdeen People’s Assembly is being held in:

The Foyer,
Marywell Centre,
Marywell Street,
Saturday 25th May.
1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. 

For more information check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AberdeenRIC/ or telephone 07813 085896.

Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.