P&J Column for 24.11.14

Mocking the white van man? Reckless stuff.

Struan Metcalfe, Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire North

By Jove, this week has been a doozy hasn’t it? What with Ukip winning the by-election, a shadow cabinet resignation over a single (in my view) innocuous tweet and that top classical musician-turned-pop-star-and-bikini-model Myleene Klass going all Paxman at Red Ed live on TV; we’ve had enough political shenanigans to make Andrew Neil’s hair uncurl!

At the start of the week I was jolly confused when the press started banging on about Rochester & Strood. I thought that was the name of the whizzo law firm which got me off that totally unfounded sexual harassment case last year. But, no, it is the constituency that Mark Reckless (lovely name for a politician) won for UKIP. That should have been a black day for we Tories, but who caught all the negative press? Shadow Cabinet member Emily Thornberry! She caused a storm with a tweet of a picture of a terraced house, with a white van in the drive and 3 St George’s flags hanging out of the window and the words ‘image from Rochester’

Of course, I have some sympathy with poor Emily, and not just because I, myself, have occaisionally put my digital foot in it. Believe it or not, I too have suffered accusations of snobbery.

Lucky my response on twitter went below the radar of the national press (this time, *fist pumps air*):

“So Thornberry fallen on sword amid accusations of snobbery. Should have fallen on her Waitrose quinoa falafel instead. #Middleclassleftieproblems LOL”.

The Class War has begun my friends; let the working and middle classes thrash it out in a Hunger Games-like battle for survival! Meanwhile we, the elite, can get on with the important business of running the country, and trying to get with that Myleene Klass. She can challenge my fiscal policies anytime! I’m very fond of a feisty girl with an unrealistic view of what you can buy for £2 million. Which, I suppose, is why I am regularly in need of the legal services of Rochester & Strood!

Barclay Lloyd, a local banker you can trust

It has been a rocky time for the banking sector, with UK banks recently being fined £1 billion for rigging the foreign exchange markets. Although the bulk of the fines were levied on the big players, the Aberdeen and District Bank did not emerge unscathed: we were fined £93.70 for our part in the scandal. Apparently the manager of one of our outlying branches was caught trying to fix the rate of exchange between the Greek Drachma and the Estonian Kroon. News that, following European Currency Union, neither of those currencies actually exist anymore, had apparently not reached Fetterangus.

To all our customers, I say, I am sorry. I am sorry that your faith in the banking sector has again been shaken. I am sorry that my own Bank is directly implicated in the scandal. And I am particularly sorry that I never realised that brazen fraud on this massive scale could go undetected for so long. If I had, I might now be sipping champagne while sailing on azure seas in a yacht cheekily named the Fixed Forint, rather than placing a bucket to catch the drips from the leaking roof while waiting to once again explain the meaning of “direct debit” to a thrawn auld wifie and her squash-faced dog.

Jonathan M Lewis, local headteacher.

The word ‘adequate’ gets bandied around all too frequently these days, but I am delighted to announce that following our most enjoyable and stress-free visit from the inspectors, Garioch Academy can now officially lay claim to that glowing accolade.

True, the inspectors did find the odd trifling fault in some aspects of the school which ’caused concern’, but when they averaged everything out, ‘adequate’ was the result. May I say, I couldn’t be more proud of the outcome.

On top of this fantastic news, can I provide parents with some other post-inspection updates?

Firstly, Tyler Jordan and Beyonce-Shanice Soutar, the school bullies, will now be returning from their entirely coincidental trip to Disneyland Paris post-haste. Bespectacled pupils are asked to prepare accordingly, remembering to bring additional lunch funds. The bullies have informed me by means of a charmingly offensive Facebook post that they’ve had a lovely time, but that the flick knives and imitation fire arms they intend to smuggle back into the UK were not cheap, and so they do intend to backdate all claims for payment and will be striving to collect arrears by Friday.

Secondly, I’m afraid pupils should not expect the dramatically elevated standard of teaching they witnessed last week to continue. The Herculean efforts at individual encouragement, thorough preparation of lessons, and, in Mr Baxter’s case, staying fully awake until the bell in every single period, really took it out of the staff. Some of them collapsed in a heap at the end of last Friday and barely had the strength to join me in the Staff-room for a round of celebratory tequila slammers.

Lastly, all pupils and parents who met with the inspectors can collect their ‘thank you’ cards from the office from Monday. Plenty of time to get those cheques in the bank before Christmas!