P&J Column for 14.1.13

Council throw their toys out of the pram – after failing to spit the dummy

Council spokesman RON CLUNY defends the authority over the ‘Helena Torry’ affair

As one might have guessed, the usual whingers and opportunists have had a field day about the Council’s apparent “ineptitude” over the failure of the Helena Torry prosecution.  There is talk about a “bullying public authority” using its power in an oppressive and unjust way. To our critics, I say, firstly, that you’d better be very careful about what you put in your bin if you don’t want to be prosecuted under the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006; and secondly, you are, as usual, about as wide of the mark as Kenny Miller clean through on goal.

Let us look coolly at what happened here.  A protestor formed the belief that she must defend the interests of the “silent majority” (which majority, despite their silence, seem to have found a means of communicating their desires to her, and who, funnily enough, turn out to want exactly the same thing as she does.)  She took the step of entering a dummy in a local election.  In so doing she wasted the time of public officials and dissipated the scarce resources of this overstretched local authority, when the public notification of the identity of the candidates needed to be made again.  Are we then expected to stand idly by and tolerate this wasteful act of foolishness?  “Yes!” our detractors say, “It was a just a joke, and the minimal inconvenience caused to the local authority was as nothing compared to the vast expense of a protracted legal process.” and they openly delight in our embarassment now that the prosecution has failed.

Their shrill and puerile criticism is not about holding the council to proper account.  It is yet another example of the corrosive blame culture to which we are continually subjected and which so undermines all aspects of public life today.  Let us be clear.  It wasn’t our fault.  It was the defence lawyer’s, the judge’s, and the Procurator Fiscal’s.

JOCK ALEXANDER – MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) Personality

Weel, michty it’s been an unsettling wik in the village, with much talk aboot the new wave o’ criminality fit is sweeping the area. We live in troubled times, far teenage tearaways roam wir streets, nabbing high performance vehicles and then bragging aboot it ungrammatically on twitbook. I hear there’s something similar happening in the city, but that’s nithing tae the crime spree in Meikle Wartle.  Noo, Grumpian police may be warning against vigilantism, but that hisnae stopped Feel Moira fae taking the law intae her ain shovel-like hands. She’s even made herself a crime-fechting costume, complete with cape, facemask, and utility belt: nae so much the Dark Knight as the Fite Pudding.

And certainly it has had a remarkable effect. Criminals are feart tae walk the streets at nicht. So is ab’dy else. Believe you me, there are few sights mair terrifying than Feel Moira looming oot of the darkness at you, clad in skintight Lycra. Noo I dinna condone her activities, but fair play til her, she did catch the joyriders. Largely due tae the fact that they’d nicked a 10 year aul Massie Ferguson that didna dae mair than 5 mile an oor downhill, so she had nae trouble strolling up tae the driver’s windae, climbing aboard, and dunting them all on the heed. Cheerio!

JONATHAN M LEWIS, local Headteacher

Following the largely negative response from parents to the recently launched Garioch Academy “Nuff Respect” campaign, I write to clarify the thinking behind it and reassure parents that it will not result in, as some less progressive voices have suggested, a “rammy”.

First of all, I reject criticism of the wording of the policy document.  We at Garioch decided to hand the project over to the pupils, so the wording reflects the current communication norms.  I defy anyone who claims they cannot understand, for example, “u need 2 mk shoor ur fone iz on silent wen ur in class”. As the Young People themselves so poetically say, “Jus chillax, lol!”

Secondly, I am disappointed at accusations that staff hadn’t “bothered to check” what our Young People had written before implementing policy. We at Garioch seek to mould fledgling minds into responsible citizens.  The pupils can only learn about appropriate use of power by being given some in the first place. Admittedly, some of the things now decreed as acceptable conduct might take some getting used to – I am still slightly taken aback when a pupil bellows “A’right, slapheid” at me in the corridor.

Finally I categorically refute that I have “gone soft” on the pupils.  Respect is a 2-way street and I admire the pupils for realising this.  If we look deep down, I’m sure we would all agree that the days of teachers demanding that pupils solve quadratic equations, conjugate a verb or do 20 star jumps were somewhat one-sided.  What better way for them to understand the true meaning of respect by placing similar demands on their teachers?  I defend the right of any pupil who has been instructed to write a reflective essay to respond, “Not until you complete level 3 of Angry Birds. You slapheid”.