P&J Column for 29.1.15

Neeps and Tatties. No, not Burns Night; the Cooncil.

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

Well, well, well. Here we go round the mulberry bush once again, with the ever-so-predictable fake outrage from the perpetually disaffected, this time about Councillor Willie Young’s supposed “gaffe” in saying that the Council “would be due to pay a penalty of £100 million” if it pulled out of the Marischal Square deal.

OK, as some fancy-dans with law degrees have pointed out, “penalties are not legally enforceable in Scots law.” But let us not get drawn into semantics. Nobody likes a smart Alec, and no matter if it’s technically a penalty, a drop-ball or in indirect free kick – if we pulled out, we would be sued, and have to pay compensation which – according to the careful calculations on the back of Willie’s fag-packet, happen to add up to a surprisingly round and memorably large number. In these days of austerity, it is no time to be wasting vast amounts of public money. Instead it is time for the city to get behind Muse’s visionary design. Everyone in Marischal College is behind it. And soon Provost Skene’s House will be, too.


Struan Metcalfe; Conservative MSP – an apology

I don’t claim to understand the ins, outs and shake it all abouts of this furore over which Political Parties are going to get their proverbial 15 mins on the Gogglebox, but it seems a nonsense to me. Hence my latest Twatter Post:

“Uk Election TV debates – last time so many people to talked tosh on telly it was the Art Sutter Show”

I apologise profusely – to Art. And not for the first time. Back during my Gordonston days the Head boy – Dominic “Naughty Guy” Fawkes – organised a trip for the sixth formers to go to Aberdeen and be in the audience for Grampian’s premier talk show. For those who don’t remember, it was a cross between ‘Parkinson’ and Franklyn’s Piano Bar. Well, I got royally sozzled on K Cider on the minibus and as soon as I got to the studio I made a bee-line for the great man, stuck him in a head lock and knuckle rubbed his head, shouting “Art Attack, Art Attack”. Then, as now, I was required to apologise by my elders and betters. Still, it made brilliant telly.

Unlike the General election TV debates. The problem is we have far too many parties these days. Only 5 years ago it was easy – the Lefty Pinkoes, the Wishy Washy Liberals and God’s Own Conservatives. Three podiums, bosh. Job done. This time there’s going to be a plinth each for the Farage brigade, the Sweaty Socks, the Tree Huggers and 2 lots of Mrs Brown’s Boys! It’s going to be like a staggeringly boring episode of Fifteen to One.


Jonathan M Lewis, Local Headteacher

This week we’ve all been immersed in Garioch Academy’s cross-curricular focus on Robert Burns. Burns Night is an important cultural event, so I asked the staff in all departments to think ‘out side the box’ to find creative ways to honour the great man. Sadly, this exciting approach has attracted some churlish criticism from the small number of parents who aren’t yet ‘on board’ with our vision.

First of all, teaching youngsters to appreciate the dynamic nature of our ‘mither tongue’ is our duty; so I, for one, applaud Mr Reid’s recent media studies lesson plans. Parents need to understand that keeping the Scots language alive is a vital task, and sometimes non-traditional teaching methods are required. If anyone can think of a better idea than watching River City on the iPlayer, I’d love to hear it!

Secondly, for the avoidance of doubt, Mr McCabe did not set his 3rd year English class the task of writing their own pornography. Burns himself was no stranger to bawdy subject matter and Kai Kelman’s composition, “There was a young man from Caerphilly” shows a sound grasp of metre, rhyming and also anatomy (no doubt gleaned from Miss Bottomley’s Biology class). Moreover, we should celebrate the fact that a pupil has created something which has so gripped the public imagination! The poem has now been read by almost everyone within the school and a great many in the wider community, thanks to the very large number of lavatory walls it has been inscribed upon.

Finally, I have been asked by Mrs Gawthorpe of the Home Economics department to advise of an erratum in the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties recipe issued to all pupils on Friday. Apparently, the Haggis should be simmered for ’60’ minutes, rather than ‘6’. Apologies if you were adversley affected after trying the dish on Sunday night. Going by Monday’s attendace, you weren’t alone.