P&J Column for 30.9.13


A debate between two heavyweights and Tubular Bells for all eternity

Doddie Esslemont, Campaigner for independence for 39G Seaton Drive

This week the papers have been full of the news that David Cameron has ducked a TV debate with Alec Salmond.  This was a disappointment, although personally I am less interested in the idea of them debating than in seeing them step into a dohyo, stamp the ground and prove their worth in a sumo wrestling match.  If such a bout were to take place now, there would be only one winner, although given the rate at which the PM is filling out, he might yet be able to give the First Minister a run for his money come September 2014.


Less well known is that Salmond’s team in turn ducked my offer of a TV debate with Big Eck on why a free Scotland should not in turn recognise 39G Seaton Drive as a sovereign state.  I can’t say I blame them.  My powers of argument are legendary.  Witness my ban from Seaton Post Office, my three breach of the peace convictions, and the fact that even Eric Joyce MP once told me to pipe down a bit when I was trying to persuade Easyjet’s groundstaff that my Puma holdall constituted a diplomatic bag.


The Reverend Edmond Everend, Minister of Holburn North North East


I am very sorry that yesterday’s sermon has been met with such disquiet.  I should explain the intention that lay behind it. 


After the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change reported there is a 95% chance that human activity contributes to global warming, I spent some time meditating upon what this means for me, both as a minister and just as a creature living on God’s earth. 


On Sunday, I chose as my reading Ecclesiastes 1:2-9.  Its theme is vanity, in the sense of futility.  “Vanity!” says the preacher, “all is vanity!”  Then he goes on to wonder what people gain from the labours at which they toil.  They come and go leaving no trace while the earth goes on forever.  The wind blows to the south and turns to the north, ever returning on its course; the streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.  What has been will be again, he says; there is nothing new under the sun.


Those words were uttered by King Solomon.  The passage seems to present an uncomfortably pessimistic message.  I preached on it before, on Armistance Day 1989, two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Then, I pointed to the flowering of freedom and democracy and preached a message of hope so stirring that in the tumult of the congregation’s applause I fancied I heard Solomon confess he was wrong.  They were heady days.


It was to this theme that I returned on Sunday.  I again tried to prove Solomon wrong.  I argued that human life is not futile.  We do make a difference.  We make things worse. 


I said that the wind does not blow to the south and turn to the north, ever returning on its course because global warming has messed up the jet stream.  The rivers do not all flow unto the sea – some we have stopped up, and flooded their valleys, for hydro-electric.  The sea is full, and rising, and we frack the earth and rip open-cast mines into her poor, bloodied flanks.  And there are new things under the sun – the latest “must have” gadget that we covet and hold dear, right up until the time when the newer, trendier version appears 6 months later. 


I ended by asking if I was alone in wondering if Richard Branson was the new Noah, and Virgin Galactic our new ark. 


I have been asked by the Kirk Session to reflect on what I said, and this I have done. 


I stand by every word. 



Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit with the crunching tackle


When you is a Dons flan, it’s not often you get to goat about your team thrashing their opponents.  But I was lucky enough to get the blagging rights over my old mate Crawford Baptie last week.  I was doing a bit of punnetry for the Dandies’ game away to Falkirk, what old Crawford used to play for.  At 5-0, it was a mudslide victory for my old club.


Mind, old Kenny has been on the receivership end of a few dubbings in my time.  Not that they was my fault.  I was the victim of a refereeing van data that went right to the top itchy loins of the SFA.  One of my proudest moments as a Brechin player was once when we was 11-0 down to Montrose at half-time.  The chairman nearly took the door off its binges when he come storming in saying “Yous lot is useless!  This club’s record defeat is 10-0 and that’s going to get smashed unless yous do something about it!”  As the proud professor of the captain’s hairband, I inspired the boys to keep history in check.  We didn’t score any goals, but our 4 red-cards meant the game was abandoned and the score was axe sponged from the records.  You jist can’t teach leadership like that.


It was good to catch up with Crawford Baptie, though.  He is only the second footballer what I have ever met what has a name is something what you have for your breakfast.  The other was a lad at Kincorth, Softie Chalmers!