Feb 202012

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party is to complain to Aberdeen City Council over mistakes in the mailing and online information for voters in the Union Terrace Gardens referendum. Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party is one of seven groups participating in the referendum process in support of retaining Union Terrace Gardens. With thanks to Martin Ford.

As a registered ‘campaigning organisation’, the Green Party was entitled to have a 300-word statement included in the information pack sent out to voters. However, in the information posted out to voters by the City Council, about half of the Green Party’s statement is missing. Only the first five paragraphs are there, while the last six paragraphs are omitted.

There is also a word missing from the half of the statement that is included. The contact information given for the Party is not the contact information provided to the City Council for use in the referendum mailing.

Voters in the referendum can vote online at:

The statements provided by the various registered campaigning organisations are also included in the online information. As with the printed information sent to voters by post, about half the Green Party’s statement is missing.

It is reported that some of the statement submitted by Aberdeen Against Austerity, another campaigning organisation in favour of retaining Union Terrace Gardens, is also missing from the online information for voters. Another two statements run into one another without a break, so could appear to be one statement.

Commenting, the vice-convenor of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party, Rhonda Reekie, said:

“I find it quite incredible that multiple mistakes could have been made in the referendum mailing. Wasn’t the material proof read? Even the most cursory check would surely have revealed that six whole paragraphs were missing from our statement.

“This is not good enough. This referendum is important and must be fairly and competently conducted. What has happened is not fair.

“Errors on this scale amount to gross incompetence by the City Council. The Green Party will be complaining to the Council in the strongest terms.”

The Green Party’s full statement can be read by voters on the party’s own website:


Rhonda Reekie 01224 714135;
Martin Ford 01224 790052.

Dec 212011

Rev. Hugh Wallace of Newhills Parish Church, Aberdeen  tells Voice about a “Not-So-Grumpy Innkeeper” and his highly accomodating role in a  community event to celebrate Christmas and the switch-on of the Bucksburn Christmas tree lights. 

Jim Bell of the Cloverleaf Hotel welcomed around 200 residents from Bucksburn into his Inn for mince pies and tea following the Third Annual Switch-on of the Christmas tree lights.

With the financial encouragement of Aberdeen City Council and the organisation of the local Community Council, the Christmas Story was told in carols and readings.

With a Community Choir made up of children from Bucksburn Primary, Newhills Primary, Stoneywood Primary and Bucksburn Academy, with members of staff and members of Newhills Church, Miss Kirsty Robertson (music teacher at Bucksburn Academy) led the choir in John Rutter’s “Angel Carol” to enthusiastic acclaim from the gathered crowd.

Traditional Carols were sung together, and Rhonda Reekie (Chair of Newhills and Bucksburn Community Council), Rev Nigel Parker (minister of Bucksburn Stoneywood Church), and Rae Wallace (teacher at Newhills Primary School) read the Nativity story from St Luke’s Gospel.

The countdown to the switch-on rang out across the car park until Jim Bell duly lit the tree, rounding off a wonderful evening. The previous week the storms had blown down the tree and buckled its stand, but a sympathetic guest at the Hotel arranged for a new stand to be made in time for the Community Event. A Mexican “Mary and Joseph”, travelling on their way to Bethlehem, also stopped off to take in the atmosphere before heading on their way.

It is thought that they may join the Street Pastors in town this week, and visit the Aberdeen Winter Care Centre where other homeless folk are being welcomed in this Christmas. Perhaps there is room this Christmas for Jesus.

Personally I want to thank the many Newhills Church folk for coming out to support the event, John and Doug for sorting out the sound, and the many others who sent texts and emails of encouragement.

God bless.


Sep 222011

On Monday the 26th September at Aberdeen harbour, the UAL Africa will be open to shippers and forwarders alike to tour on board and have a look at the newest vessel to be added to the current 16 multi-purpose geared vessels of Universal Africa Lines (UAL). With thanks to Rhonda Reekie.

The vessel was actually built in The Netherlands and is special because of the application of the Groot Cross-Bow (registered trademark), an innovative bow shape with wave piercing abilities.

This means the vessel will have less slamming and will be easier to maintain its speed compared to conventional bow shapes with bow flare.

Because of this shape, energy is saved – therefore  less fuel oil will be burned resulting in a reduction of CO2 output.

The vessel will be christened in Delfzijl, The Netherlands on the Friday 23rd September and then sails to Aberdeen, where she will set off on her maiden voyage via Antwerp to various destinations in West Africa like Takoradi, Lobito and Soyo. In the future she will also be used from the port of Houston.

UAL have been sailing from Aberdeen port now for 14 years, and Kestrel Liner Agencies Aberdeen  – finalists in the 2011 National Business Awards (for Customer Focus and Entrepreneur of the Year)  – are their liner agents . Last year they had over 30 vessels in Aberdeen for various West African destinations serving the oil and gas industry.

Kestrel will be hosting the event on Monday.

Feb 112011

As Valentines Day appraoaches,  Voice’s Rhonda Reekie shows us all how easy it is to show your undying love to your partner at the same time as your love for the planet.

Thousands of cards are sent on Valentines Day; make sure yours is made of card from sustainable forests and is printed using eco-friendly inks.

Better still make your own card – nothing says ‘I love you’ like a card made out of toilet roll, Pritt stick and stick man drawings (Hey ‘Purple Ronnie’ made a fortune from it!).

Make sure any chocolate you buy for your loved ones is organic and Fair Trade – okay, they are more expensive, but they taste better, and how much are you actually going to eat once you have scraped the melted chocolate off the bedsheets!

Going out for a meal? If you are, then go to a restaurant that serves organic and local produce.  Even better and cheaper: stay at home and cook them their favourite meal, then you choose your own music, candles and wine. You may not even make it to the pudding ….. and hey, you can’t do that in a restaurant without getting arrested!

Buying flowers? Tthen buy local flowers in season like daffodils or tulips, not ‘bird of paradise’ flowers from halfway round the globe. It is a good idea to buy a potted plant or even plant a tree or shrub for them – that way every time they see it, it will remind them of your love for them (take care not to let it die though – who wants to remember their love as shrivelled and dried up!).

For the misers out there, there are many free ways to express your devotion on Valentines: how about a hand-made voucher book – you paste in free voucher which can be reclaimed at any point – for instance, to do the dishes, get the shopping, put out the rubbish, feed the cats, etc.
This one is better for blokes, as most women do these things all the time anyway, and I would personally insist my husband’s book included a few free vouchers for cleaning the toilet!

Offer to give a massage or run a bath and fill it full of planet friendly smellies , get in and share it!   Write a poem for your beloved – emphasising their goods points; their kindness and their beauty – poems about their cuddly beer bellies, muffin tops or the way they drool when asleep do not go down well, and are not romantic!

Don’t go too far on the cheapness though; if you are planning to propose that day, then make sure the ring has a conflict- free diamond, and don’t do as one of my associates did and offer a sustainable carved wooden ring – needless to say they did not get married – you can go too far!!

Feb 042011

By  Rhonda Reekie.

The Aberdeen launch of the “Yes to Fairer Votes” campaign took place on Monday 31st January. This is the Yes campaign in favour of the Alternative Vote Referendum on the 5th May.

The launch meeting was held in the Kings Street Art Centre.  It started at six and typically I was late after heading straight from work in Dyce and sitting for three quarters of an hour in the usual rush hour traffic.

Still, it was a decent turnout given that it was a dark, rainy, Monday night in January in Aberdeen!

I found my seat and picked up the bright purple speech bubble with their ‘YES’ campaign slogan.
In attendance was roughly twelve to fifteen people, comprising of students, a couple of well known independent Aberdeenshire councillors and a mix of assorted interested others – myself included.

The Alternative Vote (AV) is very much like First Past The Post (FPTP). It is used to elect representatives for single-member constituencies, except that rather than simply marking your choice on the ballot paper with a single ‘X’ , you, the voter will have the chance to rank the candidates on offer.

The voter marks a ‘1’  beside their first-preference candidate, and continue onward, should they so wish, to put a ‘2’ by their second-preference, and so on, until there are no more candidates or they do not want to rank any more candidates. A candidate is elected if they receive a majority of first-preference votes i.e. more people put them as number one than all the rest combined. If no candidate has a majority on first votes, then the second-preference votes of the candidate who finished last on the first count are redistributed. This process is repeated until one candidate gets over 50 per cent to win the seat.

The two presenters; Neil and Kristian were sitting at the front with an overhead display and proceeded to inform us what it was all about, how the campaign had progressed so far and their campaign plans for Aberdeen and Shire. They told us they now have an office at 35 Union Street as their Aberdeen headquarters from which they will execute their campaign, including the use of volunteer telephone canvassers to generate votes.

Their main reason for the meeting seems to have been in order to gather ideas from the audience on new ways of getting the message across and recruiting willing volunteers between now and the referendum to man the phones and spread the word. We were advised about various events ranging from University hustings, book and jumble sales to street stalls and press articles.

So it seems that perhaps ‘AV’ is the first step in a natural progression to a fairer system

They also took the opportunity to advise us of the NO campaign headed by Margaret Beckett MP, whose slogan they summarised as nothing more than “If You Don’t Know say NO ” This appeared to me to exploit people’s ignorance.

They informed us that the “No” camp  had been challenged to present an argument as to why ‘FPTP’ is a better system, but all they appear to have offered is why not to vote ‘AV’.

Personally, I am all for proportional representation and I had already joined up to the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign on Facebook without looking at it too closely. I knew, vaguely, it was about replacing the traditional Westminster voting system with ‘AV’, but frankly I was not entirely impressed with ‘AV’ initially. It just did not seem very proportional to me. Perhaps we can’t change things too quickly in the rest of Britain.

So it seems that perhaps ‘AV’ is the first step in a natural progression to a fairer system. At least with ‘AV’ each elected representative has the majority of the votes and everybody who voted has had a chance to rate them. This means the MPs need to work harder for us to get these rated votes and can’t just rest on their laurels or in some cases do just enough for what we pay them.

This is just the start of the campaign here in the Northeast but it is surprising how many of my friends, family and work colleagues have no idea that there is to be a referendum, nor what ‘FPTP’ or ‘AV’ actually stands for. It is often difficult to persuade people it is their right and duty to vote in a general election, which at the very least gives them a mechanism to deselect poorly performing representatives. In any event, I offered to help with the campaign, offered some ideas, agreed to put up a poster on the side of my house and will cross my fingers that the populace will take an active and positive role in the referendum.

For further info on Yes to Fairer Votes and to find out what is happening near you – Click Here.

The next event is a Street Stall 5th Feb, at midday St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen

Dec 232010

By Rhonda Reekie.

The festive season is well and truly upon us and I don’t know about you, but for a week at least it makes all this snow and cold weather bearable.

In these belt-tightening times it makes sense to be environmentally aware at Xmas more than any other time, so to help keep your costs down I have  put together my top 5 green tips complete with additional idiot guide commentary.

1) Recycle your wrapping paper but more importantly buy recycled,  no point in recycling if you don’t ever purchase the recycled goods in the first place! Use ribbon or string for tying up presents, it is easier, more attractive and less polluting to use than sellotape.

(Ensure the string you use is not already being used for something important like holding up yer troosers or flushing the bog !)

2) Keep warm and lower your heating bills by placing foil behind your radiators to reflect the heat back into the room and stop it being lost out through the walls.

(For the particularly frugal you could even recycle the foil from your Xmas dinner but remember to wipe off the bits of burnt turkey and oatmeal stuffing first, otherwise you could end in a bit of a gooey mess and having to repaint your walls !)

3) Recycle any unwanted Xmas presents by giving to charities. Hospitals and hospices often welcome unwanted toiletries to give to patients.

(The poor souls – I wouldn’t wish my niece’s thoughtful Eau de Pong box set on anybody – last year I burnt the inside lining of my nostrils at the first whiff! )

4) Use real plants, food and natural products to decorate the house . Items such as holly, ivy and mistletoe from the garden are free, fragrant and festive. You could also use dough, cinnamon sticks, sweets, oranges, apples, cloves, popcorn, iced biscuits etc.

(Don’t go overboard though otherwise you’ll have a lovely decorated house and nothing left in your cupboards to eat on Xmas Day! )

5) Shut your curtains to save heat and switch off your Xmas tree lights when you are not in or away to bed to prevent fires

(Okay so it will look like somebody close has passed away from the outside but it will stop those particularly festive thieving gits from looking in your window and scanning all those stealable presents)

Oh and one more tip – don’t buy an animal for Xmas – they are apparently the biggest carbon footprint factor any family can save . Saying that I wouldn’t give up my two moggies for nobody, no matter how much methane producing meat they eat !!

Have a very Merry Xmas and a sensibly sober New Year !!

Sep 172010

By Sue Edwards.

The Scottish Green Party has announced that Aberdeenshire councillor Dr Martin Ford will top the party’s North-East regional list for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections followed by local branch convenor Rhonda Reekie.

One of the North-east’s best-known political figures, Councillor Ford has for over twenty years consistently argued the case for stronger action to tackle climate change. He is a strong advocate for improving public transport.

Recently, he has played a leading role in championing the rights of the home-owners at Menie threatened by the expansion of Donald Trump’s planned golf resort.

Councillor Ford has argued that the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is unaffordable and that, with limited funding available, priority should be given to badly needed new school buildings instead.

Councillor Martin Ford said:
“The North-East desperately needs some new MSPs. No-one in Parliament currently represents the thousands of North-East residents who want to see priority to given to investing in education, instead of expensive and ineffective road building. The vast majority of North-East MSPs have remained completely silent on the threat of eviction hanging over the residents at Menie. All of them are backing transport schemes that will increase carbon emissions while claiming to be committed to tackling climate change.”

We have the opportunity to re-draw Scotland’s political landscape next year

“The North-East needs a strong Green voice in Holyrood, someone local people can trust and who will put the community’s interest before short-term and unsustainable profiteering. I am therefore most grateful to the Scottish Green Party’s membership for giving me the chance to be their top candidate and I will fight for every vote across the North-East next May.”

The Scottish Green Party is confident of increasing its representation at Holyrood next year. In the North-East, with an experienced and well-known lead candidate, the Party has high hopes of success, having held a seat here between 2003 and 2007. In addition, an extra seat has been added to the North-East list to reflect population change, reducing the percentage of votes required to secure election next May. If the Greens poll more than about 6 per cent of the party votes in the North-East next year, Councillor Ford will become one of the North-East’s representatives at Holyrood.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Green Party’s co-convenor, said:
“The 2011 election will be an important moment, where Scots can vote for a positive agenda of social justice and safeguarding the environment instead of the failed centre-right agenda of the rest. Every other political party at Holyrood supported that agenda – growth obsessed, free market dominated and environmentally reckless – while the Greens predicted their failure.”

“Now a vicious programme of public service cuts is proposed as the solution. The alternative is to cut the vanity projects and protect the vital services; to realise the opportunities of a low-waste, low-energy, low-carbon economy; and to put quality of life ahead of the selfish values of the right which have dominated our politics for far too long. We have the opportunity to re-draw Scotland’s political landscape next year. I urge everyone who wants to see that happen to get involved with the Greens and help make it a reality.”

We will be campaigning to protect the green spaces in our cities, towns and villages – including supporting the campaign to preserve Union Terrace Gardens

“Martin Ford has proved himself to be a person of enormous integrity and courage, prepared to stand up for local people no matter the pressure others have tried to put him under. The people of the North-East deserve a chance to vote for representatives they can trust, and in both Martin and Rhonda they have exactly that.”

Rhonda Reekie said:
“Greens will be fighting a positive campaign. Against the background of cuts to both the Scottish and council budgets, we will be arguing for priority to be given to protecting vital public services. We will be pressing for effective action to fight climate change – for example by redirecting transport spending to public transport improvements. We will be campaigning to protect the green spaces in our cities, towns and villages – including supporting the campaign to preserve Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen.”

“The Green Party can win in the North-East next year. Shiona Baird was elected here in 2003. We have proved ourselves in the Scottish Parliament and now have a presence at Westminster too. A Green vote next year will make a real difference and get Green MSPs elected.”

Martin Ford was first elected to Aberdeenshire Council eleven years ago, and served as chairman of the Council’s Audit Committee for five years and then chairman of the Infrastructure Services Committee, until the Council removed him in retaliation for his vote against Donald Trump’s golf resort. Amongst his other roles, Martin was chairman of the North-East Scotland Rail Freight Development Group for ten years and led the successful campaign to get the rail line between Aberdeen and the Central Belt upgraded. A botanist by training, Martin has a Ph.D. in plant ecology.

Rhonda Reekie has been Branch Convenor of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Greens for 4 years and is vice-chair of Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council. Rhonda fought Aberdeen South in the general elections of 2005 and 2010 and stood on the North-East list in 2007 for the Scottish Green Party.