It’s like the death of an uncle you see only a few times a year.
You weep and wail and gnash your teeth, even if they are not your own, as you listen to the eulogies about how wonderful he was, how he’ll be missed and what he meant to the local community.
Then it’s the cup of tea and the curled-at-the-corners boiled ham sandwiches, reminisces of his glory years for a couple of hours, then a resumption of normal service as his memory is consigned to history.
RIP the Aberdeen branch of “uncle” John Lewis and his partners, victims of an economic downturn that could not be reversed, despite the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation attempts by a “task force”, the members of which would have known from day one the futility of their efforts.
The plethora of petitions calling for the retailer’s bosses to rethink their closure plans were waved in front of the management’s faces with no signee actually believing the organisation will do a U-turn.
The whole sorry affair underlines the difficult times faced by the retail business in Aberdeen and towns and cities up and down the country, while the 265 John Lewis employees in the Granite City join a growing list of shop assistants with few shops left in which to assist.
Those job losses are the real tragedy of this story.
Thoughts of chipping in some council taxpayers’ money to help keep John Lewis afloat would never – rightly – be considered.
So we must ask the local authority, keen to have Aberdeen FC build their new stadium in the beach area, if they plan to dangle a financial carrot in front of the club’s chiefs.
The council will claim it is at an early stage of exploring such a proposal, but with club chairman Dave Cormack saying “let’s talk” we can expect further down the line he’ll say: “Show me the money.”
Civic leaders believe siting a Dons stadium beside hundreds of flats and a funfair will breathe new fiscal life into that area of the town.
They may be right.
But, like John Lewis and all the other shops forced to close recently, Aberdeen FC is a commercial organisation, the one difference being that 265 jobs are not at stake should they still decide to build their new £50m home in the countryside next to their training complex.
Why, then, should some of the money we pay for council services be diverted towards aiding a company with directors and shareholders to relocate their premises?
Let’s nip this idea in the bud, now.
Salmond will spice up dreary election
Alex Salmond’s jaw-dropping announcement of the formation of his new political party reminded me of the child who spoils another kid’s birthday celebrations.
The cake and its candles enter to the sound of “happy birthday”. Then, when the child closes her eyes and makes a wish before blowing out the candles, a big boy steps in and does the job instead.
Cue confusion, tears and tantrums in the SNP camp.
Spoilsport Salmond’s intervention was a mixture of shock and political genius of the Blofeld variety and, if the former first minister can fix his Zoom problems, he will spice up an otherwise potentially dreary election campaign, although he’ll need stronger lighting on his podium.
The first televised debate featuring party leaders was hardly inspiring as a tired-looking Nicola Sturgeon promised shiny new things she’ll introduce to make Scotland better if she’s elected, while her rivals wondered what she’d been doing in the seven years she’s been in charge.
Compulsive viewing it was not, and although Alba may look to some like the Scottish version of the Monster Raving Loony Party, oh how we wish rules could be broken to allow Salmond to enter the TV fray and inject some much-needed entertainment into proceedings.
A second leaders’ debate will be on a TV screen near you soon. Alas, you’ll feel like you’re watching a repeat.
Greens are in harsh political climate
The Scottish Greens, having sold their soul to the SNP, will now have to concentrate on the environment because of the Alba party’s arrival on the political scene.
The party’s co-leader Patrick Harvie says the SNP is “stuck in a repeating loop, setting eye-catching targets and missing them; sticking with their discredited climate plan while still supporting the fossil fuel industry”.
That will be the same SNP the Scottish Greens constantly support at Holyrood but whose MSPs, all from the regional lists, will now be scouring the job adverts at the moment.