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Scott Begbie: Imagine if Jackie Weaver was in the driving seat…

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Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to sit through any form of grassroots committee meeting will have recognised the viral stars of Handforth.

In the recording of their awful parish council meeting on Zoom they will recognise the cast of characters straight off the bat.

There’s the opinionated, belligerent bully who won’t hesitate to steamroller anyone who disagrees with what they want.

Then there’s the lickspittle sidekick who will jump in to agree with whatever tune the organ grinder wants to play.

Usually, they are both very well versed in the rule book and singularly lacking in an ounce of humility or civility.

Into the mix you can chuck the nice one, who just wants everyone to be pleasant to each other, then there’s the clueless one who doesn’t grasp what the issue to hand is.

Filling the rest of the chairs will be the chaff… the folk who will look around to see who’s getting the most “that’s rights” and nodding before deciding which side of the fence they are sitting on.

If you are really lucky, you might have a Jackie Weaver… who turns out she actually did have authority there, by dint of an eject button.

Usually most people on such committees are there because they want to do something good for where they live or be involved in something they care about. But all it takes is a small minority of blustering curtain-twitchers – usually with egos far bigger than any evidence of talent – to turn the whole thing into a “me, me, me” circus.

They are there because they want to look good, rather than do good. More often than not, they stand in the way of anything getting done.

In my bitter experience, even if there are none of the archetypes involved, committees tend to do a lot of talking and not a lot of doing.

I was actually on a community council many years ago and, I freely admit, I was a single issue candidate. I just wanted to get Stonehaven Harbour pedestrianised.

It struck me as absurd that on a warm summer’s day, people have to pull their kids out of the way of cars trundling along the Shorehead, only to get up to the far end and trundle back.

I thought it was ludicrous a bunch of people having a fine old time standing or sitting on the harbour wall had to move out the way so a solitary motorist could park.

The harbour and its pubs, restaurants and other attractions should be a friendly, welcoming place – not somewhere where people can’t relax and enjoy themselves for fear of moving traffic.

I argued that point for months and got nowhere. Neither did anything else on the agenda. They were still talking about the same things when I left as when I joined.

So, decision made and I’ve never gone near a committee since. As far as I’m concerned they stop anything positive ever happening.

As for the harbour, it’s still full of cars. Perhaps we should give Jackie Weaver some authority there.

Blame all that snow and ice on yours truly

If you’re still digging yourself out of all that snow and ice, then I’m so, so sorry.

You see, the sudden arrival of winter is all my fault. It coincided with my decision to spend a tenner on a virtual running challenge, to rack up 50k during February.

Not a lot of mileage, admittedly, but I thought it would at least get me going.

But last week was rather icy around Stonehaven of an evening and not wanting to burden A&E with a broken ankle during a pandemic, I decided just to leave it and catch up properly.

So when Sunday offered up a wee, clear weather window – albeit mightily cold – I wrapped up warm and went for it. Box ticked.

Clearly, though, I angered the weather gods which was why we woke up to a blizzard in Stoney yesterday.

And I think the running gods have joined in, too. I had entered the ballot for the London Marathon, just to give me something to do for turning 60.

The results came out yesterday and crashed the marathon website. After repeated clicks, and some harsh language, I finally got my answer. No.

It was one of those moments of disappointment at not getting, tinged with relief at not having to do all that training.

All that said, I do need to keep exercising, otherwise it’s bigger breeks in my future unless I cut down on the beer and crisps. Running it is then.

Well done for rolling up your sleeve

My faith in humanity has been restored by the stampede of folk prepared to roll up their sleeve and get the coronavirus vaccine.

The huge numbers now being willingly jagged is the perfect antidote to the handful of halfwits who think it’s all a conspiracy theory to… well, I’m not sure what they think it will do other than save lives. And it’s not just people who are doing their bit. Hi-tech is, too. My phone has just informed me my handy Protect-Scot app is working hard to warn me if I’ve been exposed. Which I haven’t.

So, keep it up and I’ll hopefully see you for a pint soon-ish.



This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.