P&J Column for 5.8.13

One Man, One Vote, One Russian Fishing Boat – lessons in democracy from Seaton Drive

RON CLUNY, Council Spokesman, is magnanimous following the Authority’s victory in the legal challenge to its plans for St Nicholas House

So, HFD has lost its legal challenge to the St Nicholas House redevelopment scheme, and the Council can press on with its joint venture with Muse.  We shall be gracious in victory, as I told the challenger’s legal team on the telephone while giving a series of 2-finger salutes and waggling my bum in the general direction of their offices.  Well, running a local authority is a stressful business, and one has to celebrate life’s little victories as best one can.  It’s just a pity I forgot it was a videoconference.

I can only hope that the court’s ringing endorsement of the plan will lead to a long-overdue respect for the Council’s strategic vision.  To the nay-sayers and whingers, let me say this: yes, your local authority is capable of taking rational and defensible decisions; no, we are not a complete bunch of neeps.  I therefore hope that the Council will be permitted to press on, without unhelpful and wasteful legal challenge, with the other exciting projects it intends to press on with for the public good – tunnelling beneath the city, solving the Haudagain problem by introducing an innovative “park and teleport” scheme, and the building of the Eastern Peripheral Route – which will be much like the Western one, but wetter.

Great times lie ahead.

JONATHAN M LEWIS, Headteacher of Garioch Academy, responds to an unfounded allegation

There was once a time when even a headteacher could enjoy the first 4 weeks of their summer holiday without a heady mix of nerves and foreboding every time the phone rang.  Sadly, my annual pilgrimage to Nairn was rudely interrupted last week by yet another jumped-up journalist hell-bent on besmirching the good name of Garioch Academy.

Rather than focus on the endeavour and effort displayed by pupils working so hard in the holidays, or the remarkable profit margins that they have achieved from their endeavours, this hard-bitten hack put it to me that there is something “dodgy” about one of our 4th year Enterprise Group’s activities.  I must admit that their business plan rather stood out from the usual proposals for car-washing, bake sales and cheap knock-off Christmas decorations.  “Scrap metal sales” certainly seemed an ambitious venture.  However, Mr McVicar in the Business Studies department is a remarkable man.  The story of how he put a life of petty crime behind him in order to retrain as a teacher is one that should be celebrated, not something that should be endlessly cast up at him.  I would have set it out in more detail in this column, but his mobile phone seems to be out of range just now.  In any event – it is his inspired leadership that has seen the group achieve a 6-figure turnover within 2 months.  There is money to be had in scrap metal, it would seem!Sadly, the media have been quick to point the finger at the group.  Apparently, selling approximately 3 miles of copper cabling as a job-lot is “suspicious”.  We live in a sadly cynical age.  After an angry phone call with the paper I rushed to the train station to head back to Garioch, only to find that the line had been closed due to a nocturnal theft of signal cabling.  I don’t know who did it, but I just hope they catch them and string them up!

DODDIE ESSLEMONT, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of 39G Seaton Drive, offers political asylum to Edward Snowden

Pity poor Edward Snowden, the US Citizen who leaked news that the US authorities are systematically spying on us.  I must admit that I can’t understand what the fuss is about; I’ve known all about this for years, through such television documentaries as Homeland and The X Files.  Even so, he finds himself in a terrible bind: facing imprisonment in America, he has been forced to seek refuge in Russia, where those who oppose Putin would happily tell him a thing or two about state snooping and oppression, if only they had access to social media in prison.  His association with the Ruskies is swiftly losing him support among the liberal intelligentsia.  He needs to find refuge in a state which shows a clearer commitment to the democratic principle of one person, one vote. 

This is where the People’s Democratic Republic of 39G Seaton Drive comes in.  It contains one person (me), one vote (cast by me), and a government which commands 100% popular support.  You don’t get much more democratic than that.

I expect that Snowden probably has already sought asylum here, and that his letters have been intercepted by a foreign power.  I challenged the postie on it, but he just ran away, as per usual.

So, Edward: if you are reading this in far away Russia, if you can loup onto a Russian factory ship and get yourself to Aberdeen harbour, I will be there to convey you to 39G Seaton Drive in the official Diplomatic chariot, always provided that the legal dispute regarding  its status has been resolved.  Morrisons say it’s theirs; I say I bought it off them for a quid.

See the Flying Pigs live in ‘Finzean in the Rain’ at HMT Aberdeen 7th-16th November