P&J Column for 16.12.13

Mandela’s memorial saw world leaders both black and white join together. To flirt with the Danish Prime Minister.

Ron Cluny; Official Council Spokesman

Last week provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful contribution to humanity made by Nelson Mandela, and also to Aberdeen’s own contribution to popularising what was then a controversial cause by awarding him the Freedom of the City. I well remember the arguments at the time. Why should the city of Aberdeen involve itself in these, matters should they not be left to diplomacy between national powers? The answer, then as now, is this. Yes, the world is made up of countries. But more fundamentally, it is made up of people, living in local communities, but subject, too, to broader bonds of fellowship and humanity; bonds which, although subtle and often overlooked, are real. Real, too, is the fact that every person has a voice, albeit a small one easily drowned out by the winds of oppression. But when people band together, their collective voice is louder. And when cities band together: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Rio, Rome, and call out that a wrong is being done and must be righted, the collective voice of their citizens becomes too loud to ignore. Having said, that, given North Korea’s attempts to become a nuclear power and the recent fall out in the Kim Jong-un family that puts even the most hardcore Christmas family dust-up in the shade, we, the council wirsels, have come to the conclusion that it’s probably best to shelve our plans to rename Seaton Drive ‘Jang Song-thaek Way’.

Struan Metcalfe; MSP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions

“Bravo!”, I say. “Bravo! Hoorah!” and multiple “Hosannahs!” to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority! An 11% pay rise to MPs from 2015 – now that’s what I’m talking about. Take note Eck Salmond. Instead of chucking away the tax-payers’ hard earned on your glossy pamphlet (“Scotland’s Future”, cracking read by the way. Hilarious.) why not spread the love a bit? I guarantee massive Cross-Party support for a Crimbo bonus! You could learn a thing or two from the IPSA Chairman – my old buddy Sir Ian “Comedy” Kennedy. He’s come in for a bit of stick for proposing such a massive hike for the honourable members given the prevailing economic climate. But as the IPSA pointed out, it’s a very good deal for the taxpayer – and if they don’t like it then, well, they weren’t appointed to be popular, so stuff them! Quite right, I didn’t come into politics to be liked by the electorate. That’s just something I have to appear interested in temporarily once every four years. I came into politics to meet totty. And to make this great nation of ours a better place for the people I represent. Politicians with trust funds! That said I am more than somewhat shamefaced and apologetic about my mid-week – and mid-snifter – tweet: “11% pay rise to MP’s undermines trust in MPs whilst Joe Public struggle”? I should coco! Means we don’t need to fiddle expenses any more. LOL!” The down-side to the proposals of course is that they involve an end to the ancient tradition of the Tea & Biscuits Allowance. They giveth with one hand and taketh with the other. That’s put paid to my ambitions to move from Holyrood to Westminster. What’s the point if I can’t argue with the lefties whilst enjoying a Gin and Garibaldi? Apparently, making the MPs pay for their own tuck at the Houses of Parliament is going to save a million quid a year. Of course, the Government could achieve the same thing by de-selecting Eric Pickles.

Tanya Soutar; local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken aboot youse, but I wis outraged to see David Cameron posing in some Danish wifie’s ‘selfie’ at Mandela’s memorial service. He embarrassed oor hale nation. I mean a’body kens, that’s nae foo ye tak a selfie! Here’s Tanya’s simple guide tae the perfect personal pic. The first wye oor PM went wrang wis fan him and Obama joined in someb’dy else’s photie. A selfie should ONLY contain yersel. Fit Mr Cameron wis actually doing is cried ‘photobombing’ – fit is a totally different art form a’thegither. Avoid this by ensuring naeb’dy else can get in sight of yer lens. The best wye is tae hiv it less than two feet fae yer face. A lot of the papers wis saying it wisnae appropriate tae tak a photie like that at the memorial service of een of the world’s maist respected peacemakers. They’re right, he should’ve turned roon first, to get the memorial service in the picter! In years tae come, fan oor PM is looking back ower his life, he’ll come across this snap and think “Fit wis I doing in a stadium?” The hale point of the selfie is so’s fowk can see far ye are. My pal, big Sonya, wis up in front of the sheriff last wik fer shoplifting. Dinna worry, she didnae tak a selfie of herself standing in the dock – no – she waited til she wis being led awa so’s she could get the jury in the background. That’s much mair memorable. Plus it’ll help her mind the faces of the radges that found her guilty files she’s doing her 3 stretch. But perhaps the worst thing aboot Cameron’s embarrassing effort wis his face. I ken he’s nae a bonny loon, but the standard pose fer a selfie is nae a glaikit grin. The correct look is, of course, an alluring pout with smouldering eyes. If this disnae come naturally tae ye, try tae imagine that yer blowing someb’dy a kiss files eating a spoonful of peanut butter and trying tae calculate the square root of 187.