Tally Ho and Long Live the Revolution! Dong Dong…! Things genuinely seem a bit more vibrant, dynamic and forward-looking since the elections. Labour have a majority and the LibDems got the ballot-box cull they had asked for. By Suzanne Kelly.
Running was quite an experience and so was the count. There were tired and emotional councillors and would-be councillors, some of who looked as if they’d been to the BrewDog AGM (held at the arena the Saturday before), and hadn’t been home yet.
Frenzied minions ran from computer screen to computer screen for glimpses of spoilt ballots and early result indicators. The most softly-spoken man I’d ever heard was tasked with whispering the results out to the candidates before the official announcement.
I had as much chance of winning Torry/Ferryhill as I did of winning the Grand National, but I was very very touched to have been the first choice for some 91 people. Thank you.
A diminutive rabbit-faced woman in an eye-wateringly lurid, mustard-coloured jacket was looking tired/confused/fearful, a bit like the 22 deer which she’d ordered destroyed on Tullos Hill. (What was with that jacket? Did she have a job as a theatre usher to go to after the count? Was she wearing it for a bet? Was it some new high viz outfit?)
I almost felt sorry for her as the members of her little herd were culled one by one by the voters and each loss was reflected in her doe-like eyes. But I wasn’t.
Speaking of culls, newspapers accuse the Government and landowners of secretly planning a beaver cull in the Scottish countryside (what’s left of it). Surely the transparent, non-political, scientific body that is Scottish Natural Heritage would not help secretly destroy wildlife? Must be a mistake.
In some parts of Tayside beavers were reintroduced, and others escaped into the wild and have bred for generations, and are now wild as well. Still, some clever clipboard-holder somewhere is thinking about taking some of them back from the wild now or culling them (beavers build dams you see – something the SNH could not have anticipated). SNH – Where would nature be without it?
If you are interested in beavers about to be persecuted by some ambitious SNH pencil-pusher, contact Louise Ramsay of the Scottish Wild Beaver Group.
Elsewhere in the news Eduard Munch’s famous painting ‘The Scream’ sold for £120 million. For only £20 million more you could destroy a Victorian garden and get a granite web, if you’re interested.
I was struck by how closely it resembled some of the ex-councillors at the count, and a few of the hopefuls when they learnt they didn’t get in this time. It is also quite a futuristic painting – it looks to me like a terrified person running away from a giant granite web.
The Cults, Bieldside, Miltimber online newspaper is a simple, straightforward, informative means by which area residents keep up on the latest news. It became however, the point of attack for Stewart Milne’s legal rottweilers. Why you may ask?
This little newsletter had repeated the (widely-circulated) rumour that Stewart Milne and family were going to depart their big house on the hill and have it turned into a hotel. The ordinary Tom, Dick or Stewart might simply have dropped an email to the editor to say the rumour wasn’t true, but not Stewart Milne. Nothing short of legal representatives contacting the newsletter would do – it was SERIOUS you see.
Munch’s ‘The Scream’ also resembles the area residents’ faces when they learned Milne wasn’t leaving. Allegedly. I’d best not mention the rumours around the ‘heated driveway’ or the destruction of a listed home for Milne’s ‘eco-friendly’ house, or I’ll have the lawyers onto me, too – so I won’t. And as far as any stories about liquidity problems, well, you won’t hear about them from me.
But at this rate there won’t be time for any definitions, so here we go.
Spoilt Ballot: (noun) Eng. 1. Voting slip or card which has been defaced or incorrectly marked so as to make it void. 2. Voting slip or card which has been marked to elect a Liberal Democrat.
Well, possibly one of the best laughs of the count was watching computer screens which displayed the spoilt ballot papers. The voting system might be less than simple in terms of tactics and strategy, but in the end all you had to do was put a number one for your first choice, a number two for your second choice and so on – for as many or as few candidates as you wanted. Simples.
The spoilt papers made everyone laugh. There was someone who’d written their life story on their slip, and another person livened the proceedings up with little smiley faces. Unbelievably, neither slip could be counted.
Then we had someone who wrote number 12 next to each of the ten candidates in their ward. Perhaps it was a good attempt at sarcasm; I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Far more sarcastic was the person who chose only one candidate, and gave them a number 26 (out of 14). Other people had four or five choices to be their second choice.
Others used ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs instead of numbers, and some people just could not keep inside those pesky square boxes. Just for the record, the referendum voting instructions did not say anything at all about not making stray marks on the voting form, but the election did. Hmmm.
Fix: (slang, English verb) to alter a genuine election or vote result
I am outraged! Horrorstruck! Shocked! That a blatant fix could have happened in this country, perpetrated by a special interest group to further their own ends. The BBC confirmed it today, and it is now time to take action.
Yes, Spanish drinks giant Diageo fixed the results of the British Institute of Innkeepers award for the ‘Bar Operator of the Year’. This award had been voted to go to BrewDog (and quite rightly so) – but Diageo put the frighteners on the competition organisers, threatening to pull future sponsorship. This is apparently neither a threat nor intimidation nor even sour grapes according to Diageo, who are calling it a “serious misjudgement” on their part.
If you are out there James, Martin and all of the BrewDog crew, award or no, you are assuredly the Best Operator of the Millennium.
The AGM BrewDog held probably made more money than some football clubs or newspapers made all year. On the day, sales of rare, premium top quality beer was sold as fast as could be managed to eagerly queuing crowds; hundreds of cases of beer were sold.
The shareholder meeting was refreshing on several levels – the presentations were riveting, and the premium products we tasted during the meeting were some of the best beers I’ll ever have. It was Beer Heaven on earth. It was international. It was emotional. It was tasty. It was an AGM, but not as we know it.
As to Diageo, well I’d not forgotten how they decided to slaughter the deer which lived on a site they acquired (wholly unnecessary, but as usual, sanctioned by SNH dogma). Coupled with trying to wrest an award away from BrewDog, war has been declared as far as I’m concerned. I’d list all of their products, but that would take ages. Suffice it to say that Diageo brands are off my shopping list forever.
Loss of Office: (English phrase) – to find oneself without employment.
Pity those who had found suitable employment, only to have it taken from them suddenly, abruptly, and with no guidance on a future job or career, leaving them with financial worry, self esteem issues, loss of social contact and insecurity. It is not fair to make people suffer like that.
So my heartfelt sympathies to those of you who suffered in the 2008 budget cuts which saw beneficial programmes such as ‘Can Do Aberdeen’ cut and its employees cut off without a lifeline. (And sympathy also those people who needed and/or worked for many services for the elderly, people with special needs and so on who lost out when a past administration decided to cut you out).
They say that in the end time redresses balance, and what comes around goes around. Perhaps something like just desserts will be served sometime soon.
But I am out of time and space for now. Next week: Summertime special.