Aug 152014
salmon amidst gore killed in a coastal net

Salmon amidst gore, killed in a coastal net.

By Andrew Graham-Stewart.

The Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) is appealing to Scottish Ministers to encourage maximum restraint in any exploitation of salmon in the next few months.

The appeal is in response to this year’s very poor runs of salmon, which so far in 2014 are believed by many to be the worst in living

The evidence for this is from angling catches, in-river netting catches and fish counters across most of Scotland.

Thus the provisional number of fish recorded at the counter on the River North Esk (Scotland’s most closely monitored river) to the end of July is just two-thirds of the five year average. The poor runs in 2014 follow very sparse runs in 2013.

Hugh Campbell Adamson, Chairman of S&TA(S), commented:

“The very limited numbers of salmon returning to our shores reflect poor marine survival for the second year running. On many rivers, angling catches to date are no more than 50 % of what one would normally expect.

“In the circumstances it is vital that as many as possible of those salmon that have successfully returned from the ocean are able to spawn successfully, and so anglers have a responsibility to release as many as possible of the fish they catch”

Mr Campbell Adamson added:

“Given the gravity of the situation Scottish Ministers need to intervene immediately to stop any further killing of salmon this season by the coastal nets. In recent weeks salmon returning to the coast after their marine migrations have, because of the low water levels in most rivers, been either reluctant to or unable to enter their rivers of origin.

“Due to these summer conditions depleted stocks have meandered up and down the coast where they have been highly vulnerable to the coastal nets. These nets have been able to kill an entirely disproportionate number.  The Government’s support for the netting industry, and its failure to regulate or limit catches, is now coming home to roost.

“Ministers have a clear duty to step in to prevent any further indiscriminate killing of our depleted and fragile stocks”

The number of salmon killed in nets in 2013 was 50% higher than in 2012 – according to the official Scottish Government figures. There are no quotas set for wild salmon and consequently there is no mechanism to limit catches by netsmen – whatever the strength or weakness of local populations.

Ian Gordon, leading salmon consultant and gillie, said:

“It is fundamentally inequitable that Scotland’s coastal netting stations, which employ no more than 50, mainly part-time, individuals, are permitted to kill as many salmon as they are able to, before the fish reach our rivers. Wild salmon are a dwindling resource and the over-riding priority must now be to protect the 2,000 plus jobs of gillies and others on our rivers that depend upon a thriving angling industry to be viable.

“Angling, with the great majority of salmon caught released safely back into the river, is essentially sustainable but, if our rivers do not hold sufficient salmon stocks, anglers will simply vote with their feet – thus jeopardising in-river employment and the economies of local communities. In these circumstances Scotland can simply no longer afford to allow unrestricted coastal netting.”

More information:

The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) was established in 1903 to address the damage done to our rivers by the polluting effects of the Industrial Revolution. For 111 years, the S&TA has worked to protect fisheries, fish stocks and the wider aquatic environment on behalf of game angling and fisheries.

S&TA has charitable status in both England and Scotland. S&TA’s charitable objectives empower it to address all issues affecting fish and the aquatic environment, supported by strong scientific evidence from its scientific network. Its charitable status enable it to take the widest possible remit in protecting salmonid fish stocks, and the aquatic environment upon which they depend.

Mixed stocks coastal netting stations indiscriminately catch any salmon passing by, regardless of where they are heading or the strength of the various populations in their home rivers. They are completely non-selective, making the management of individual river stocks almost impossible.

The Scottish Government’s 2001 Green Paper on Freshwater Fish and Fisheries stated that:

“the exploitation of salmon outside their river of origin is widely accepted as contrary to good salmon management, primarily on the grounds that it does not discriminate between separate river populations and therefore severely inhibits monitoring and optimum management of exploitation of stocks on a catchment basis.”

In addition, 17 rivers in Scotland are designated as Special Areas of Conservation, part of the Natura 2000 network – a series of internationally important wildlife sites throughout the European Union. The random nature of mixed stock fisheries makes it extremely difficult to determine the impact of such fisheries on these important conservation sites.

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Aug 062014

A recent Aberdeen Voice piece looked at salmon fishing issues and Montrose-based USAN. Seals were shot in Gardenstown, confrontations occurred between Sea Shepherd, hunt saboteurs and USAN, who operate salmon nets in the Crovie area. Animal welfare organisations condemned USAN’s activities.

USAN’s George Pullar invited Suzanne Kelly out on the boat to experience first-hand a typical day on the water taking salmon. Pullar wanted to explain his operations and his difficulties; this is the story of how the day unfolded. By Suzanne Kelly.

George  Pullar of USAN. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

George Pullar of USAN. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

It is a pleasant afternoon when George Pullar collects me from the Montrose train station for my visit. Montrose station by the way is adjacent to wildlife habitat, the Montrose Basin.

This is a highly valued local nature reserve  where fishing and wildfowling are permitted leisure activities.

I am admittedly the sort of person who only wants to shoot wildlife with a camera. I wonder what sort of day I’m in store for.

We arrive at the USAN operations south of Montrose. A floating net is currently hung up on the grounds of the Pullar property; the cage is, I am struck by its huge size.

USAN operates in a number of areas around the east coast of Scotland; USAN advise they purchased fishing rights as private heritable titles on a willing buyer/willing seller basis, as with all the rights they own, and are keen to point out they have not operated nets in the Ythan Estuary area and state that they have not shot any seals.  However, anglers concerned about salmon stocks and animal welfare groups are concerned about seals in the area, and George has told me that if a seal persistently steals from any of his nets, he wants to have it shot.   The local anglers, who have contributed towards maintaining salmon stocks, are ‘dismayed’ at the news of USAN operating in the area.

USAN was also granted a licence to shoot some 100 seals; after public outcry, the company was widely quoted in the press as saying it will not take seals. But George Pullar is adamant seals which interfere with the nets will be shot.

The Scottish Government via Marine Scotland issues licences for killing grey and common seals to the farms and the netting fisheries. Their 2013 figures brag that ‘only’ “105 seals have been shot across 216 individual fish farms and 169 seals across over 40 river fisheries and netting stations during the third year.” and that “licensees are only shooting seals as a last resort.”

Pullar and I get onto the subject of hunting in general; there are a few nice looking dogs on the property. Pullar is not interested in shooting deer or rabbits for fun or sport; he says his shooting is confined to protecting his nets and his fish from seals.

Arrival at USAN Suzanne Kelly

Arrival at USAN. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

We walk down a path to the bothy, where we are joined by others including George’s son. Everyone puts on protective gear and a life vest, and we go aboard the motorised boat. Eight large fish packing boxes are aboard, empty. They will soon almost all be filled with salmon, large and small.

The motorboat goes to the netting areas past ‘Elephant Rock’ a local landmark. We pass George’s cliff top house.

He tells me that hunt saboteurs, wearing balaclavas have not only been monitoring USAN’s activities on the water, but have also been watching his house. Unsurprisingly, the police are monitoring the hunt saboteurs, and George tells me that anti-terrorism police are also involved and are interested. Pullar is concerned for his family and his business.

We arrive at the first net, a floating cage. The fish go into the wide opening, and the further in they go, the more trapped they become.

The crew grab one side of the net from the side of the boat; they begin to haul their catch. Then each man grabs a small wooden club. Suddenly the bottom of the boat is filled with salmon, struggling for oxygen. They are terrified, they are gasping; they flap helplessly. Small fish, large fish, all are clubbed to death on the head as swiftly as the crew can manage.

We repeat this process some 14 times more; I’ve lost count.

My first impulse is to put the salmon back in the water and save them; this is of course impossible and whether or not I am there, the fish will be killed. The small ones look particularly helpless to me; the large ones are nothing short of majestic. But I must report that the killing of these animals is accomplished quickly.

I think of the many ways fish and meats are produced; I think of the farmed salmon.

salmon net on Pullar property by Suzanne Kelly

If animals are to go into the food chain, it is better that they have a free, natural life and a swift end to my way of thinking.

George agrees with me readily as to the treatment meted out to farm animals; if I’ve understood him correctly he has seen a chicken processing plant in operation.
I want to discuss his relatively swift despatching of the previously wild salmon as opposed to how caged salmon live.

Farmed salmon are kept in relatively small pens, where in the wild they would have covered wide open sea and river areas. Farmed fish are fed a cocktail of drugs; they are prone to sea lice, which cause great pain as they eat the farmed salmon’s flesh, often to the bone. And there is powerful evidence that the areas under these cages become barren; I spoke to a diver who equated the area under a salmon cage he’d seen with the Empty Quarter desert.

George asks me if I eat fish; I say no. He asks if I eat any meat; I say I’m vegetarian. I do say though that from what I know and what I’ve seen of meat production, I cannot really argue with the speed in which the salmon are killed on his boat.

After they are killed, they are tagged as wild Scottish salmon with a tag carrying the USAN logo.

The number of fish in each net varies. Some have only 2-3 fish. Some have dead salmon and a fair number of jellyfish. I only see a few types of other fish in the nets; a mackerel, and Pullar points out some herring. He tells me in effect there are plenty of fish in the sea.

That may be so, but there are some serious concerns being expressed about the number of wild salmon to be found in the rivers. The anglers also support local businesses and bring money into rural economies. The anglers of late are hardly catching a thing. Pullar today has taken at least 50 salmon, and while this number can vary greatly, he says they clear the cages twice a day.

Some reports state that  total salmon catch figure decreased from 500,000  in 1975, to 100,000 in 2000.  Today, anglers in Scotland’s rivers are hardly getting any salmon at all. Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) said:

“This is a very bad year for salmon. Numbers returning to the coast from their marine migrations appear to be well down. Very few are entering their rivers of origin. This situation is exacerbated by the dry weather. Given the lack of flow in the rivers fish tend to wait in coastal waters where they are highly vulnerable to coastal nets – such as those operated by USAN.”

USAN’s nets south of Montrose are a classic “mixed stocks fishery” – taking fish destined for many rivers between the Tay and the Spey. Radio tracking by Marine Scotland of fish caught south of Montrose shows conclusively that some are destined for the Dee.

Some of the salmon catch in one box. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

Some of the salmon catch in one box. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

USAN is answerable to The Esk District Fishery Board for its operations. There are conflicts in legislation – ‘leaders’ are meant to be removed from the floating nets at specific times – but the rules take no account as to prevailing weather conditions. USAN has fallen foul of these laws, and is seeking to change them.

I haven’t seen a seal all day; and on previous boat trips down the coast, I have almost always seen some.

I wonder why there are none at all in such an area as George’s nets are. I ask him about seals.

“If a seal only comes to the nets once, it’s not a problem. But if the same seal comes back, then (it will be shot). These are my fish (the ones in his nets)”

George also seeks to assure me that the police were happy with his having guns and how they were stored in Gardenstown and Crovie. This was an issue touched on in a previous article.

I know that Marc Ellington, who owns the lands in Gardenstown and Crovie has formally forbidden USAN to shoot from  his lands. As I understand, it is illegal to shoot from a boat (for rather obvious reasons; the water is hardly a stable place from which to aim).

Pullar tells me that his company is working with developers to improve devices which use sound to repel seals (he says not all seals are susceptible to the noise such devices emit). He points out to me the steel bars he has installed on some of his floating cages to prevent seal access to the salmon, and netting in use on other cages to prevent seal access as well.

George feels that the press is ignoring efforts he is making with the university and developers to keep seals out of the nets and therefore out of the equation which is one of the main objections people have to USAN’s operations – the shooting of seals.

It is clear to me that if USAN were to market itself as a company that took wild salmon without ever harming any other wildlife – it would be pleasing clients and people concerned with the environment. Even if the company took fewer fish as a result, it seems clear to me people who care about wildlife (even if they eat salmon) would be willing to pay more for a product that didn’t involve shooting other creatures.

Last year a seal was shot in Gardenstown in front of two newly-arrived tourists who had rented a cottage.

They promptly packed and left. The police’s investigation into the shooting – which took place without the landowner’s permission – fizzled out. 

A salmon netted, clubbed and tagged for sale. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

A salmon netted, clubbed and tagged for sale. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

USAN makes no secret of the fact they will shoot the animals if they interfere with the nets.

USAN made a statement to government which sets out its arguments – theirs is a heritable business in a sector which they see as being persecuted by angling interests.

In the document USAN discusses the Close season and the fact anglers get a longer period in which to fish. USAN employs some 14 people, and support the local economy.

But when USAN states:

 “It is reprehensible for us to have to survive on reduced fishing time, where there is no threat to salmon stocks.”

– it is clear that this conflict is about more than seals; it is also about conflicting opinions on how much salmon stock should be taken, and what the future holds for the wild salmon population.

It’s A Living Thing.

Pullar wants to provide for his family and to pass his business on, just as his father has done. We talk about what I do for a living (I’m a secretary when I’m not writing for Aberdeen Voice, by the way, as well as a painter and craftsperson, and a few other things). My skills are transferable; I’m also always trying to learn new skills.

I wonder perhaps if the Pullar business model could benefit from some diversification – adding wildlife tours, education, etc. to the business model.

The world is rapidly changing; in Aberdeen the talk often turns to what will happen when oil runs out. It is entirely possible that the salmon population is dwindling – overfishing (arguably), pollution, climate change are driving changes which can’t be beneficial for any wildlife. Pullar could always find other ways to work; he doesn’t want to and by law he doesn’t have to.

I think of the seals. They have to eat what they find – there is no choice for them. Do we really have to take as many fish as we do Experts advise that many dead seals are found not to have salmon in their stomachs when examined. But if the definition of ‘vermin’ is one species going after the food needed by another species – are the seals the vermin – or are we?

On our way back to the Pullar bothy, three hunt saboteurs are sitting on the shoreline.  They wear balaclavas and are filming us.  The boat goes closer; George is filiming them; they film George and I am filming them both.  It is a sureal moment and soon we are back to the Pullar property.

We return to shore; the boxes which had filled up with fish are put on a forklift, and taken to the bothy’s packing plant. On my way back to George’s car, I meet his father. Three generations of the Pullar family are engaged in the business.

My Closing Thoughts.

I leave with a bit more insight into USAN’s operations and its issues, and with some hope that a way will be found to stop shooting any seals.

Salmon amid the jellyfish. Fishing with USAN. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

Salmon amid the jellyfish. Fishing with USAN. Credit: Suzanne Kelly

It’s clear to me they aren’t the only ones shooting seals. Once again I find myself wondering if the Scottish Government and its environmental bodies SNH and Marine Scotland are more interested in money and politics than in the state of Scotland’s ecology and the biodiversity of the future.

I think that if I were a hunt sab, or animal rights activist, Pullar would be of less interest to me than the people involved in industrial farming on land and on sea and the institutionalised cruelties entailed.

I question the tactic of hanging around someone’s house wearing a balaclava; the hunt sabs didn’t make very many friends in Gardenstown either; they were asked to leave.

Intimidation is a tool, but working together to find solutions in a less confrontational manner should be preferred. Pullar says he’s working on ways to keep the seals away from the nets; I will follow his progress and encourage it.

I also leave with renewed determination to remain a vegetarian, and may perhaps go vegan.

But mostly, I’m thinking of the seals, deer, geese and the habitats that are being destroyed before my eyes since I moved to Scotland. That for me is the bigger picture, and until someone in power decides that money is less important than halting urban sprawl and encouraging biodiversity in deed rather than in words, I believe we are all heading for trouble.

Do not watch the following video if seeing fish being clubbed will upset you. Do not assume that is meant to show up USAN’s killing. It will show everyone who likes their smoked salmon exactly where it comes from. I recommend watching it while bearing in mind what is going on to get the low-cost chicken, lamb, pork and beef onto your table, which would be far more upsetting to watch.

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May 012014

By Bob Smith.
Cove boats

A weel aff mannie ca’ed Kohle
Stairtit a row maist unholy
Jist move aa yer boats
An pit ‘em on floats
An tak ‘em awa ti a storie
Ess chiel his decreed
His letters fowk heed
Dinna dee fit he wints
Wull the bugger charge rints?
As access ti shore he dis need
Fisher fowk fae Cove Bay
View aa ess wi dismay
They’ll kick up a stoor
Agin ess bliddy boor
His gemme they’re nae gyaan ti play
Auld Jock Ritchie fae Cove
Micht hae said noo by jove
“Wi canna hae ess,
Yer jist takkin the piss
An ma boatie a’m nae gyaan ti move”
Is Mr Kohle in transition
O destroyin a tradition
Fishers aye used the shore
Their gear fer ti store
Are they tae bow in submission
Ma wife is Cove bred
An ess maan be said
Fin she heard o Kohle’s scheme
Oot her lugs cam the steam
Sayin Cove culture’s noo dead
Cove fowk are fair wishin
We aa sign their petition
Ti show Prahlad Kohle
His ideas they are folly
An tae keep the fishin tradition
Use yer moose or yer pen
An a’m sure ye aa ken
The fisher fowk o Cove Bay
They shud hae their day
Ess message ti Kohle we sen

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2014
Image Credit: Boats on the shore at Cove Bay by Ewen Adam.
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Mar 152012

By Bob Smith.

A’ve aywis likit the kwintraside
Born an brocht up on a fairm
Faar as a bairn a cwid wanner
An nae cum ti ony hairm

Doon the wye fae oor hoose
Wis a burn fit’s ca’ed the Ord
Sittin on its bonnie banks
A nivver wid be bored

Twa railway sleepers war laid doon
As a crossin ti oor neebors parks
An on iss bittie slabs o widd
A sat listenin ti the larks

The Ord cam oot the nearbye dam
Faar twis rumoured pike war seen
Mony’s the time a wint fishin there
Wi string, wirms an bent peen

In warm simmer days a paddled
Some bandies in a jar a’d trap
Syne studyin them fer a fyle
Afore back in the burn they’d drap 

Sometimes I aet ma denner
Doon b’ the burn o Ord
Fine sandwiches an bannocks
Wi ale fae yon Bon Accord

Lyin on the grassy banks
Peerin up at cloods abeen
Watchin the odd antrin plane
Fleein ower b’ Aiberdeen

Noo an agin there wid be a splash
Fit slippit oot o its burnbank hole?
Maybe Kenneth Grahame’s “Ratty”
Better kent as a watter vole 

The Ord it jined the Leuchar Burn
Slowly wannerin its wye ti Culter
Faar the statue o Rob Roy stauns
Wis he a hero or jist a looter?

It wis on the banks o the Ord
A learnt fit naitur’s aboot
Ma love o the kwintraside cairries on
O aat there is nae doot 

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”2011

Oct 282011

In our final extract from Suzanne Kelly’s interview with former RGU Principal Dr David Kennedy, he describes how the community came together, in the face of serious local business opposition, to help RGIT achieve university status in 1992, how that community spirit inspired him to raise his voice against the Menie development, and how he still gets a buzz from teaching and seeing its benefits.

“At least one good thing came out of Trump”, David Kennedy is convinced, “Community spirit”.

“Twenty years ago the Government had a policy to make polytechnics into universities. Here in Scotland they decided there would be two new universities, not very good ones I may say, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. These two institutions, which previously had been local authority colleges, became centrally-funded in 1985, thus enhancing their status.

“Then in 1988, Napier in Edinburgh called itself a polytechnic, followed a couple of years later by Glasgow College who renamed itself Glasgow Polytechnic.

“The older technological institutions in Aberdeen, Dundee and Paisley still retained their old names, that is, they had not called themselves polytechnics, even though they were wholly polytechnic in educational status and character, and were longstanding members of the UK committee of polytechnics. My fellow principals simply assumed that their institutions would be included in the forthcoming legislation.

“Being a suspicious person, I phoned the Scottish Office and asked if it were right that all were going to become universities, or only the titular polytechnics? The Scottish Office spokesman confirmed that only the polytechnics would become universities. I mounted a massive campaign. RGIT, with its long and proud record in higher education, had produced several times more graduates and PhD students than Edinburgh and Glasgow put together.

“Behind the scenes, Ian Wood had played a significant part in the formulation of Government policy.

“Wood was from an old fishing family. When the offshore oil industry started in Aberdeen, there were many opportunities, and several fishing companies decided they would go into the supply vessel and stand-by vessel business. Wood was quite entrepreneurial and in the right place at the right time.

“In 1986 there was a massive drop in the price of oil, and many companies just went belly up. Ian Wood had good financial backing and mopped up a number of firms going into liquidation during that massive downturn. He was the man who persuaded the Government that Aberdeen needed a world-class university and thus didn’t want RGU to become a university.

“The irony is that the current RGU chancellor is Ian Wood, the man who did his utmost to prevent RGU becoming a reality. The people of the North East supported me in my hour of need and I wanted to return the favour and support the people of Menie Estate.”

Dr Kennedy’s strict values have not always been popularly received, however. He describes a time in his own professional life where he had to survive criticism.

“In 1992, the Queen said it was her annus horribilis. The following year was mine. Practically every day the local papers had me as the controversial man. As a result of that I have never read The Press & Journal or Evening Express since. Alan Scott who is just retiring is a good friend, but they had Derek Tucker back then. When I first came to Aberdeen, Peter Watson was the editor and he was a gentleman.

“The standards in the press have gone down, as we’ve seen. I was a victim of it all in 1993. I was eventually vindicated in the courts, but as the old saying goes – ‘if you throw enough mud some will eventually stick’. I was blacklisted by officialdom.

On the subject of his own fulfilment, Dr Kennedy returns to education, his own profession for which a passion still burns 

“As it turns out, I do a lot of voluntary teaching and I am a befriender. I currently have about ten students, adults who missed out at school in English and numeracy. I suppose in a way I am a born teacher and I fulfil myself by teaching others who are in need.

“There is satisfaction in helping other people. We must be hot-wired for it, for a cooperative nature. It is infectious. It is more fulfilling than materialistic fulfilment. When I see people understanding things for the first time, that is a terrific kick for me.”

Voice, and Suzanne in particular, are grateful to Dr Kennedy for giving his time to talk with such passion and conviction about what continues to frustrate him, drive him and sustain his zest for improving the lives of others. We can be sure that this is not the last we have heard of him and wish him success in seeking a publisher for his book. It is certain to be of huge interest to all in the NE who have had their lives touched by his life in education and the community.

Oct 072011

Dr David Kennedy, former Principal of The Robert Gordon University, is a man of many interests, experiences and opinions. Voice’s Suzanne Kelly was eager to get his views on contemporary local and global topics and they conversed, among other topics, about life, the planet, greed, oil, fish and Wood. This is the first extract from that conversation.

David Kennedy was not short of words, opinions or facts.
He had recently been interviewed in-depth by the mainstream media in connection with the proposed New Town development at Elsick, but in the end all that was reported was the well-publicised return of his own honorary RGU degree in protest over RGU’s decision to award a similar honour to Donald Trump.

This simple act of defiance was eloquently accomplished and captured beautifully in Anthony Baxter’s and Richard Phinney’s film, You’ve Been Trumped.

For those who mainly get their news from Aberdeen Journals, the rest of the world has been writing about this award-winning documentary for months, and it is hitting cinemas in Scotland again now – see details elsewhere in Voice.

I asked first about his son Peter’s concern over the development of a massive housing estate at Elsick and  Peter’s subsequent article in Voice   and wondered if Dr Kennedy himself was keeping up with the issues around this or other planned housing developments?

“There‘s a lull at the moment other than the application that went for approval last week. The BBC spent just under an hour with me. Despite taping a long video interview when the report of the development was eventually aired, virtually nothing of what I said was used, just a reference to my handing back my degree some 12 months ago to RGU.

“The arguments that I put during the interview were about farmland. Human beings have a few basic requirements. One is food; another is warmth. As a prime requirement, humans must be able to feed themselves. We were cautioned by Winston Churchill during WWII that we should NEVER allow ourselves to be dependent on other countries for our food. If our country is unable to do this, then we must depend on trade with other countries.

“How is Scotland going to feed its people if it hasn’t any farmland? Therein lies the problem. We’ve seen here in the North East the decline of all the indigenous industries that have been with us for hundreds of years – textiles, paper, agriculture, fishing, that sort of thing. They’ve all been virtually destroyed by the growth of the oil industry, which sucked skilled people away from these industries.

“Oil is a finite resource, therefore we know from the start it’s not sustainable. It is a short-term gain for a long-term loss. I was on a few committees debating the future of Aberdeen when the oil was gone. Tourism was the only answer they came up with. However, tourism is like taking in one another’s washing – our tourists go out, theirs come in. Where is the gain? The future of Scotland certainly depends on its being able to either produce its own food in sufficient quantities to feed its people, or otherwise manufacture and export goods other countries want.”

This led us to discuss red tape and over-regulation in the farming sector.

“That of course largely comes from what is happening in Brussels. I know one or two larger farmers in the area, one of whom told me he’d never been as well off in his life. Thanks to me and other taxpayers, he was being paid so many subsidies from Brussels for set-aside, tree-planting and so on, as Europe wanted to control where food is and isn’t produced and thereby avoid overproduction.”

Suzanne’s fascinating conversation with Dr Kennedy will continue in future issues of Aberdeen Voice. We are grateful for his input.

Nov 192010

By Bob Smith.

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
It’s time ti be revoltin
Agin the destruction o oor city
Yer brains they need a-joltin

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
Show yer nae Widdie’s flunkies
This mannie treats us wi disdain
As tho’ we’re bliddy donkeys

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
An ask Sir Ian faar wis he
Fin the ship building an the fishin
They war jist allowed ti dee

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
We’re bein selt doon the river
Eence an SPV gets oor gairdens
They’ll aa be lost firivver

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
It’s time ti show yer mettle
Oppose the biggin ower UTG
Bring it back inti fine fettle

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
Afore it’s ower damn’t late
An aa oor sheepish cooncillors
Hand it awa upon a plate

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
Are ye lions or a wee moose
Stan up for aa oor heritage
Afore the diggers are let loose

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
Man the wa’s an the city gate
Afore ye ken faar we are
We‘ll hae become Trumpton State

Arise gweed fowk o Aiberdeen
Tak heid o aa these verses
An gie a skelp ti cooncillors lugs
Or kick them up their erses

© Bob Smith”The Poetry Mannie” 2010