P&J Column 24.3.16


For North-East Scotalnd, it hasn’t been a good spell

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

The opportunity to serve you. That is all that we, your devoted Local Authority, seek. But just occasionally we might be forgiven for wishing that you would bestow that opportunity upon someone else.

It has been a trying week in the Town House. It started with our antagonists gibbering with joy at the fact that we had spelled “Scotland” incorrectly on our polling cards, and ended up with them gleefully whooping and hollering at the fact that the repairs to the Town House are going to come in over-budget. Well, really. Who would be a public servant? George Osborne was treated with greater deference by IDS – a man who both sounds like a gastro-intestinal complaint, and wears the fixed facial expression of someone who is suffering from one.

Let us deal first with the spelling error. Obviously, it is to be regretted that the regional constituency was mis-spelled “North East Scotalnd”, but to be honest, that was nothing compared to the typos we saw in the various tweets, emails and letters of complaints. Many of the people who contacted us demanding that the polling cards be pulped and re-issued were mischief-makers, while the remainder were wannabe big-shots. Spot the deliberate spelling mistake there.

Turning now to the overspend; nothing seems to energise the public more than the idea that the council has forked out more money than was absolutely necessary. Obviously, an overspend of £2M on works that were originally intended to cost only £1.5M is less than ideal. But it is important to put this in context. These works were long delayed by previous, less far-sighted administrations, meaning that when we bravely pressed on with them, more needed to be done. In executing these works, no corners have been cut; we have used only the highest quality materials, employed only the highest quality of tradesmen, and when deliberating over the plans, our committee members consumed only the highest quality coffee and fine pieces. We have overspent by a mere 230%. The construction of the Scottish Parliament, by contrast, went over budget by 800%! On that basis, it might be said that your ever-thrifty local Council is 570% to the good. you’re welcome.

Jonathan M Lewis, local Headteacher

How I have enjoyed reading about the run-away winner of an online poll to name a new Royal Research Ship. Whilst there is an element of silliness about calling a multi-million pound state-of-the-art research ship “Boaty McBoatface”, I champion the use of the democratic process to find the rightful moniker for the vessel.

I’m sure many parents will recall me taking a similar stance when Garioch Academy was looking to select a new school motto. Many suggested that it was tantamount to negligence to devolve the decision to the pupils, claiming that they would be unable to take the process seriously. ‘At least’ the nay-sayers bleated’ give them a sensible shortlist to choose from’. I, however, was confident that our young people would respond positively to the responsibility entrusted to them and I think we can all agree that there was nothing to gain by stifling their creativity.

My only regret is that the many doubters weren’t able to see for themselves just how wrong they were. Senior pupils formed campaign teams, canvassed the younger pupils and even held a lively ‘hustings’ debate the afternoon before votes were cast. The whole process was carried out impeccably and when the motto was chosen, it provided yet another occasion where I was truly proud to be Head Teacher here at Garioch Academy, where our blazer badges now proudly proclaim “Why learn when you can Google?”

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the sports writer with impeccable feminist credentials.

It’s not normally my cup tea cakes, but I’ve been reading a lot of the tennis headlights this week. There’s been a bit of a hahoo about prize money, with Kojak Choccybics saying he reckons the women should get paid less much money than the men. It’s always a risky business talking about agenda issues in sport, so hopefully old Kenny won’t ruffle any lady’s feather dusters by saying something sexist.

If you is asking me, I think Kojak’s got it all wrong. He says at his press conference, he says “men attract more spectators”. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is a top athlete in the peak of physical condition, but I is not attracted to him. Some of those women players, though, they is absolutely gorgeous!