It is well over a month since the Press and Journal started to report on the enormous increases in business rates bills and the potentially devastating impact the rises could have on the local economy.
Having considered resilience last month, I've decided to maintain a thematic approach to the column by considering happiness, what it is, which behaviours can encourage happiness in yourself and others and whether personality type might lead one to be a happier or less happy person. For it is a truth often observed that it is not the challenges that life throws at people and organisations that cast us down, that people can laugh and be happy (or at least stoical) in the face of huge threats. Equally we see every day evidence that it is not just wealth, status and material possessions that make people happy. So what does make us happy?
The north of Scotland has just experienced an icy blast from the east, and I’m not just talking about the sub-zero winds circulating in from Siberia. Following a freeze on Scottish business rates for the last five years, Nicola Sturgeon’s government has initiated a thaw.
Long before the rise of the mobile smart phone, Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant brains of the 20th century, said: “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
It all started back in the summer of last year. Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) organised its first Ultimate Business Show - an expo which brought together over 70 of the highest profile and most innovative companies in the region and around 1,000 delegates with the objective of sharing ways of working differently, more smartly and providing solutions to the challenges around more effective and efficient procurement.
We are living in uncertain times. The past six months have witnessed the Brexit referendum vote, the election of Donald Trump as US president and the resignation of the prime minister of Italy after losing a constitutional referendum. Whatever opportunities for the discerning investor may arise from these events there’s no doubt their initial impact on markets is destabilising.
Over many years in academia I have pondered how and why particular careers seem overwhelmingly attractive to young people, in particular of course university applicants, while others seem to languish and require constant efforts on the part of well-meaning practitioners to “sell” their appeal.
As the Press and Journal's Keep HIE Local campaign gathers pace, the agency's former chairman and SNP party member, Professor Jim Hunter, today accuses SNP ministers of launching an "assault" on its founding principles.
As Europe’s offshore oil and gas capital, our region has a well-earned reputation for enterprise and innovation, but the eventual depletion of North Sea reserves over the next 25 to 35 years gives us a serious long-term economic challenge.
Employers are increasingly aware of the value of modern apprenticeships (MAs). Under the direction of Skills Development Scotland, more than 25,000 people every year start a modern apprenticeship, with over 80 MA frameworks, from financial services to healthcare, from construction to IT. And the feedback is positive – 96% of employers say those who have undertaken modern apprenticeships are better at their job and they praise MAs for improving productivity, staff morale, and service and product quality. Significantly, 92% of MAs stay in work once they’re qualified.
Last month in London a gorilla escaped! Initially I had thought it was Boris covered in BS, but once I saw the hair I knew it couldn’t be him. Well there’s no mistaking the hair on this month’s escapee. FM, who would have thought the head green keeper at Turnberry would be president-elect? Surely he won’t keep his day job? I think whoever said: “if Hillary couldn’t control her man’s urges - then how could she be trusted with control the USA” can take some credit, if that’s the right word, for the amazing result. USA; USA; USA! Trump and Putin! My money’s on a new golf course in the grounds of the Kremlin!
And so again this month many of us woke to an unexpected election outcome: and the deep irony is not that you and I did not expect it but that governments, pollsters and political experts all over the world did not expect it. As with Brexit, we woke to find a world surprised and unprepared for what would come next – but knowing that the world order had changed.