This was first posted on Facebook on 6th March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
“…well, imagine a person standing on a block of ice, planning and planning and planning. Planning ways to get about on the ice, ways to decorate it, ways to divide it up, ways to cope with all the possible knowns and givens of a block of ice. That would be a busy person, provident and industrious and independent and admirable, isn’t that so? Except that when the ice melts, none of that is any use at all.” – Native Tongue, Suzette Haden Elgin
This week, the Tories threw their best shot at Nicola Sturgeon – accusing her before, during, and after her giving evidence of having committed resignworthy offences.
In quick summary: in November 2008 an oil billionaire, Sir Ian Wood, got an idea for a concrete Italian-style piazza in the centre of Aberdeen, to be achieved by transferring a public park into private ownership. He offered to spend £50M of his own money to part-pay for his stony vision. (He likes concrete and no trees: Union Terrace Gardens has lots of trees.) (Update: apparently some of the trees would have survived.)
Annie Lennox, November 2011:
If Sir Ian Wood wants to invest £50m into the centre of Aberdeen, that is fundamentally good, but I disagree with the way he’s going about it. It is not because I’m a reactionary, it is not because I’m against modernity or change. It is the way that this was done; it is short-termism, it is short-sighted.
From what I am gathering, he is not saying: “I have £50m, I want to talk to you, I want to hear what you guys want.” He’s telling the city this is what he will do with it. I think it’s very imperious. I think it is very, very important to listen to more people, the people who are living there, the citizens of the town.
This offer from Sir Ian Wood interrupted a long-term plan for developing Union Terrace Gardens. A consultation was carried out, which overall rejected Wood’s scheme, and then in November 2011 the SNP-controlled council had the Electoral Commission run a referendum across the whole City – in which Wood’s scheme won by a slight majority.