Friday, 16 November 2012


For an easy read version of all Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog, and for the translation of this post use this direct link.
“Two forty five … two sixty five … two seventy five … two eighty.  Nae enough!”
“Good morning Convener, still figuring out the budget?”
“Aye Nigel, rich noo I’m on the Catering Budget.  It’s a bit o’ a job though.”
“So how much have you got so far?”
“Well ‘am at two eighty, but it’s nae enough!”
“Two hundred and eighty thousand pounds off of the catering budget?  That’s remarkable – and you don’t think it’s enough?”
“Awa’ ye go!  I’ve got two pounds an’ eighty pence!  But it’s nae enough for a three poun’ sandwich for ma denner oot o’ thon vendin’ machine.  My budget’s jist like the Cooncil’s – my stomach has demands and expectations that canna’ be met wi’ ‘current resources’.”
“Well, we’re all going to have to make sacrifices Convener.  I suppose that you’ll just have to choose something less expensive”
“Weel I wis goin’ tae hae ‘Tai Chicken in Chilli Sauce’ but I’ll jist hae tae mak dae wi’ tuna or cheese”
“Well that’s the sort of choices that are facing us now.  It’s no good having a caviar lifestyle on a corned beef budget”
“Oh I like corned beef! My Granny ayewis gave us corned beef.  I had corned beef every Tuesday richt up ‘till 1964”
“1964 Convener?”
“Aye, that wis’ the year o’ the Typhoid ootbreak in Aberdeen.  It wis blamed on the corned beef – so efter that we jist hid tae mak’ dee wi’ a biled egg - until Edwina Currie came alang and put the kybosh on them!  Syne wi’ BSE in hamburgers and Listeria in cheese.  It’s a wunner we’ve onythin’ left tae eat a’ ta.  Have ye seen fits in sandwiches nooadays?”
“In them? Convener?”
“Aye, look fit it says on this sandwich packet -“This product contains mechanically recovered chicken”.  Sounds like it fell doon a hole an’ then they howked it oot wi’ a JCB!
Convener! - you’re off at a tangent again!”
“Aye, bit my granny wid never have ….”
“Yes Convener, I think we’ve heard quite enough about your granny, this is getting us nowhere.  What was it that you wanted to see me about.?”
“Oh! it’s this budget workshop thingie.  I’ve got the first ane in Forres the nicht an’ I dinna ken fit I’m supposed tae say or dae.  I’ve never been tae a workshop before – dae ye hae tae tak’ a hemmer an’ saa?”
“No Convener.  A workshop is an event where people get together to work on options for saving the Council money.  The have discussions and exercises to go through.”
“Exercises?  Oh, I’m nae up for rinnin’ on the spot or star jumps.  Nae at my time o’ life!”
“No Convener.  They’ll be undertaking desktop exercises that help us prioritise the way that money is spent.  You see, our budget’s really about choices – we know we’ll be getting less money so it’s what we use it for that counts.  The people at the workshops help us make these decisions by comparing different council services and deciding which, in their view, need to be protected from any cuts or, alternatively, those that might be reduced.
“So, it’s nae aboot me tellin’ them fit tae dae an’ then listening tae fit they hiv tae say?
“Not at all Convener. That’s not the way it works this time. We want to hear ideas from the public.  That’s why the workshop gives them the opportunity to introduce their own ideas and to challenge the way things are done at present.
“Ye mean they’re goin tae tell me fit tae dae?”
“Absolutely, Convener”
“Well that’s a new idea.  Fa’s idea wis that?”
“Mine Convener!”
“Ah weel, dinna’ get too cocky, ‘cos we’ll probably need aa’ the ideas we can get. Mind you, I’ve nae heard oney frae you – can you help an’ a’?
“Of course Convener”
“A’ richt – lend me 20 pence for ma sandwich then!”
“……..Yes Convener.”

There are still places available for the forthcoming Budget Workshops which will be held as follows;
  • Forres area - Forres Town Hall on 16 November 7-9pm
  • Buckie area- Fisherman’s Hall on 19 November 7-9pm
  • Elgin area - TA Centre on 21 November 7-9pm    
  • Keith area - Longmore Hall on 27 November 7-9pm
  • Lhanbryde area - Community Centre on 29 November 7-9pm
  • Elgin area - Bishopmill Hall on 30 November 7-9pm
  • Speyside area - Fleming Hall, Aberlour on 4 December 7-9pm
  • Lossiemouth area - Lossiemouth Town Hall on 6 December 7-9pm
Places can be booked by calling 01343 563996 or via the budget consultation section on the Council website at   If there are still places available on the night then every effort will be made to accomodate anyone who might turn up, however it should be stressed that this will be strictly on a first come first served basis and we cannot accomodate more than 64 persons at any venue. 

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