P&J Column 29.6.17

‘Rise like Lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number’. Not bad, but it’s no ‘Up Town Funk’.

Davinia Smythe-Barratt, ordinary mum

Please, somebody pinch me. I fear I’m actually enduring a living nightmare. Theresa May-Not-Be-PM-Much-Longer clings to power by forging an unholy alliance with the DUP. And so the dismantling of our society by creeping privatisation and the forces of globalisation is allowed to continue unabated. I am appalled by this, although I will admit that until this week I thought DUP were the people who delivered parcels for Amazon (I much prefer to shop locally, of course; we must all do our best to sustain nearby business, but it’s just so convenient, isn’t it?).

This DUP deal is despicable, even for the Conservatives, giving, as it does, a place at the table to the radical right. The DUP positions on the environment, reproductive rights and gay marriage are so regressive that Green Party leader Caroline Lucas branded them ‘dinosaurs’ which they hated. Because they don’t believe dinosaurs existed.

Worse still, we actually have to pay them for the privilege. They’re going to get a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money for Northern Ireland. At least now I know what the words “NI contributions” mean on Snezhana’s payslips! (She’s our au pair. She’s Bulgarian, but she’s marvellous. In fact she’s such a treasure, I’m going to have her registered so I can keep her after Brexit).

Someone else who got a massive windfall this week was HRH Queen Elizabeth, who is going to receive an 8% pay rise. Now, as all my friends and comrades in the ‘Kingswells Mums for Social Justice’ Facebook group (we’re anti-austerity, pro-prosecco) will know, I am no monarchist. To me the royal family symbolically perpetuate a medieval hegemony, which oppresses the many for the benefit of an undeserving elite, and I can never find any of Kate Middleton‘s gorge outfits in my size. So naturally, my initial response to the news that Liz is getting an extra £6 million, to pay for essential repairs to Buckingham palace was horror – what a massive waste of our precious resources. But on the other hand, we’ve just had some roofing work done on the stables and – let’s face it- specially imported premium Spanish roof slate doesn’t come cheap. But I was most taken by Her Majesty choosing to deliver the Queen’s Speech dressed as the flag of the European Union. That’ll teach them not to make her miss the first day of Ascot!

The only light on the horizon was seeing the reception Jeremy Corbyn received at Glastonbury at the weekend. The crowd went crazy. It was heartening to see the generations come together to listen to the words of a bearded man on the wrong side of 60. Though I must say, I never new he had such a good singing voice. His rendition of ‘Staying Alive’ was something else.

View from the Midden – rural affairs with Jock Alexander

Weel, it’s been a sanitational wik in the village. I wiz reading that ‘optimism is growing’ in Aiberdeen, as the city’s Union Street is getting some specialist ‘deep cleaning’ tae remove the foliage noo growing oot of its mony neglected lums. Michty, fan you’re reeling fae the financially disastrous effects of an oil and gas downturn, it disnae tak ower muckle tae mak you feel better, dis it?

I’ve aye wiz thought it seeing betties of greenery sticking out a’wye gave Union Street a nice, green, foresty kind of a look; and had assumed it wis pairt of the city’s relentless campaign tae be crowned Britain In Bloom Ultimate Chumpions for Life. Of course, fowk here have decided that a deep clean of Meikle Wartle is also lang overdue. Indeed, even a shallow clean wid be fine. The village square is aboot twa meters higher above sea level than the Ordnance Survey boys ken aboot, thanks tae the longstanding build up of fossilized sharn. Aye, there’s been a pucklie decades of fowk tramping aff the fields wi’ it still clinging tae their beets, and so it has built up a bittie.

Ab’dy in the village agrees that the best wye tae boost wir ecomony is tae attract vees’tors, and that the wye tae dae that is to nae hae a village square fit is several feet deep in mineer. But it’s gan tae tak mair than a scoosh of het watter fae a special wand tae deal wi’ it, and so Moira his been rooting aboot in her shed for her flamethrower.  I’m nae sure that warming it up is the best plan; yes, it will be easier tae shift, but I’m nae convinced that we’ll get mony vees’tors efterwards. Cheerio!