Struan Metcalfe, MSP for Aberdeenshire North and surrounding nether regions
2021 has exploded out of the blocks faster, and louder, than Usain Bolt after a vindaloo! Just when I thought we were shot of any semblance of scrutiny over Brexit, the whole bally thing appears to still be getting the once over by parliamentary committees. What next, some form of accountability?
Now look, I think it’s fair to say that we in the Conservative Party are all frightfully bored of getting a hard time over taking the country out of one of the world’s largest trading blocs. So when I was asked to review the Brexit deal on Christmas Eve, (with a packed agenda at home: try to complete the P&J Easy Sudoku, watching Gandhi on Netflix, getting royally smashed on bucks fizz by 10am), there was simply no way I could fit it in, especially as I had to organise our annual Gordonstoun Lads’ Christmas Ding Dong.
Normally we would have hired a castle or a private room in an exclusive hotel for the day, causing merry hell, but this year we had to do it over Zoom. Still, my quiz, “British atrocities in the Commonwealth, 1750 to 1935”, went down very well.
So yes, I failed to spot a few bits and bobs in a rushed-through deal which are ever so slightly crippling to local businesses, but rest assured, even if I had checked it, there’s no way I would have noticed after all that bucks fizz!
Jonathan M Lewis, local head teacher
Whilst I’m sure there will be some pangs of dismay among the Garioch Academy community that we again find ourselves thrust into remote learning, teachers are well prepared, and I have every faith that pupils are in for a real treat. But there are a few things our young learners can do to further enhance the experience.
1) Wear your uniform with pride. As tempting as it is to roll out of bed and log in to your live lesson in Action Man (or Woman!) pyjamas, you will be energised and invigorated if you don your shirt, tie and blazer before engaging with learning. I can assure pupils that none of their teachers will still be in their dressing gowns! Especially Mr Garvie, after what happened the last time.
2) Speak! Your teachers are missing you terribly. No matter how much they wish you would stop chatting, deep down they crave the sound of teenage voices. So, to serve as a reminder of simpler times, use any silences during your online lessons to spread rumours about who Katie Bell snogged last week or to discuss which member of BTS is the hottest.
3) Try to submit your work – of course – but we don’t expect a leopard to change its spots! For all that they want you to hand in your work on time so they can sit up marking till all hours, on a subconscious level your teachers are hard-wired to enjoy chasing after the minority who are always late with their homework. So, if you’re a tail-end Charlie with your essays, please keep it up! It’ll help your teachers keep a fingernail grip on reality.
View From The Midden: rural affairs with Jock Alexander
It’s been a sequestered week in the village. Noo we’re weel in to 2021 (and we’re hoping tae get started wi’ the Gregorian calendar ony day noo) it’s nae taken lang efter the bells for us tae realise that it’s jist the same auld pandemic-filled stramash as afore.
But fit is new is a load o’ lovely reed tape tae hinder the import and export of goods tae the EU. That is fit wye there’s been affa disruption at borders and naebdy in Northern Ireland is getting ony Percy Pigs.
Here in Meikle Wartle we’re nae overly concerned wi’ the end o’ free movement in Europe. At this time o’ year we dinna move freely onywye, as it’s sae caul we’re a’ weering seven jumpers and fower pairs o’ briks. But it is still concerning tae see, for example, exports o’ Scottish seafood being halted for five days files companies trachle through a’ the new forms, paperwork and certificates they’ve tae produce.
Some fish export businesses may not survive, but on the ither hand, it’s a real boost for stationery manufacturers. Here in the village, we’re counting wir blessings that we dinna export ony fish tae Europe. Weel, fit wi’ the Wartle Burn being a funny colour thanks tae run-aff fae the sewage works, naen o’ the creatures fit live in it wid sell onywye.
Nae even in Frunce.