Dame Ellen invites…

Councillor – sorry, Dame Ellen Morton has circulated a letter to her local political circle in Helensburgh which many appear to have forwarded on their personal email lists and which an anonymous kind soul has sent on to us.

It relates to the arrangements for a local farewell party for Provost Billy Petrie who is retiring from formal politics at the coming local authority election on 3rd May 2012.

It rewards reading.

‘Dear All
‘As we all know Billy goes in May (maybe some of the rest of us do too but just don’t know it yet!) Again as you know, there is a formal Council do to mark the event. However a few folk in the town mentioned that a town event for any ordinary folk would be nice – I think you are all already aware of the idea as I have mentioned it in various places as has Gary and Danny and, I think, some of the rest of us.
‘However I have finally got my act in gear and got the tickets!
‘The party is on Saturday 28th April at 7 for 7.30 in the Osprey suite of the Commodore; a drink and light buffet; cost £12.50 – no freebies! (apart from Billy’s family obviously). If any of you want tickets can you let me know – I will bring them to the Area Committee on Tuesday. Also can you pass the word round anyone you think would be interested. Gordon & I and Gary & Janet are going; Alan Reid is coming (paying) as is my Aileen and Fiona Howard. ‘So could any of you who has contacts with any other candidates please try to ensure they know about it. I have kept this away from Council premises so we don’t invoke the dreaded purdah! I don’t want it seen as political at all so it is important (I think)  that anyone who is a candidate gets the chance to know about it, even if they are then not interested. I presume Gary will let the Tory candidates know and James the SNP? Does anyone have any contact with the other independents?
‘Hope some of you are able to come. It will be nice to let our hair down before the axe falls.
‘Regards
‘Ellen’

Those of us mercifully ‘ordinary’ folk will find this a cheeringly entertaining insight.

We will be awestruck to know that the highlight of the event, seeing us scrabble frantically in our pockets for a spare £12.50, is the gracing of the event by the attendance of Dame Ellen herself – and with her consort.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney and his wife are graciously included as a secondary draw; and Argyll and Bute’s MP gets a postscript mention simply because he’s paying. Why is that a matter of note? Doesn’t he always?

Close on Mr Reid’s heels in the protocol is the heir apparent to the Dame – even if a handover period of some duration is fondly envisaged.

‘My Aileen’ will also be attending.

Well, wow. Try to buy an entire table for the event. Invite such friends as can be relied upon not to shame you before the great and the good.

This warm familial reference conjures the presence of Dame Ellen’s daughter, Aileen Morton, standing as a candidate in Helensburgh Central with the Dame herself, as usual, a candidate in the home county of Helensburgh and Lomond South.

Lucky Helensburgh to have the historic opportunity of voting for so shining a dynasty. Who cares about CHORD, Colquhoun Square, schools – those are just the grubby little things the ordinary folk get a bit exercised about from time to time – until they are pacified by the opportunity to spend a mere £12.50 for access to the Dame, her Consort and her inner family.

We must pity the poor Princess Royal who, because of ‘the dreaded purdah’ will be deprived of the favour of an audience with the Dame on 26th April when she visits the town.

Isn’t it surprising that she hasn’t cancelled out of sheer disappointment? And isn’t it amazing that she seems prepared to make do instead with the presence of the ordinary folk – but then the view from where she stands may be somewhat different from that of the exalted climes inhabited by the Dame.

You may be surprised, as we were at first, to see that in all of this there is no mention of the persons the uneducated ordinary folk like us would have expected to be the real draw of the event – Provost Petrie and his family. They are less honoured guests than the lucky recipients of freebies.

It is clear that, in her generous energy to make the event a success, the Dame has recognised that no will come just to see and talk to this poor sap.

So, in the infinite goodness of her selfless heart, the Dame is headlining the big guns in her attempt to talk up the event’s real attractions.

Her hope is that her political satellites will earn their place around her skirts  – and those of her attendant consort and daughter Dame-elect – on 28th April by contacting as many ordinary folk as they can still remember to form an orderly queue for tickets.

We cannot divine whether ‘the other independents’ rank below or above us ordinary folk but the phrase seems to distinguish between the ‘acceptable’ independents like Councillor Danny Kelly (who, lucky boy, gets a mention en passant as a messenger) and the ‘other’ independents – like Councillor George Freeman whose name must not be mentioned in these august circles. (Too clever by half. Gets above himself. Never doffs his cap. VOTED AGAINST US.) Definitely below the Salt.

So, serfs of Helensburgh, start now.

Get your tickets booked to make sure of your entry to the Commodore on the night. Get the Sunday shoes polished. Get the flat caps brushed down with ne’er a hair left on them. Get the funeral suits aired a few days in advance to lose the smell of mothballs. Start practising speaking proper – you’ve only got 13 days to go.

Buy a pair of white gloves so that you may proffer, germ free, a humble hand,

Keep your eyes down. It’s invasive to make eye contact – and besides you would be blinded by the divine radiance of Helensbrgh’s own regal family. Speak only when spoken to – and be grateful for the opportunity.

Oh – and how’s that curtsey? (Keep a straight back. It looks as if you’ve got a spine.)

Don’t be too intimidated. The Dame is working really hard in this letter to seem quite jolly and approachable –  a tasteful scattering of exclamation marks.  That’s what the ordinary folk use, isn’t it?

Forget all naughty thoughts of the Emperor’s new clothes and prepare to be truly astonished. This will be a night long talked about in the kitchens of the ordinary folk.

Don’t forget that important date on 3rd May 2012, when you can pay tribute by voting for the Dame and for ‘My Aileen’. This is when you come in to your own. The ballot box makes no difference between the ordinary person’s vote and those of the locally mighty. Be thankful.

It is evidence of that careless grace of the great that touches this regal family that the Dame’s consort is not a candidate in the third local constituency of Lomond North. Best not to be too greedy. Leave a few crumbs for the ordinary candidate.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • I’d only buy a ticket if I can hit Billy Petrie in the face with a custard pie. Sorry, but after “Mr Luss” sold Luss down the river by not backing the school, he lost any respect his lengthy public service should normally bring.

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    Crazy She-Bat April 15, 2012 11:32 am Reply
  • Mars Mulvaney also sent an email invitation which began, and I quote:

    As you will know doubt be aware, Billy Petrie is standing down and is not seeking re-election in May.

    Maybe the Dame could find a school for him!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    PBP April 15, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
    • He’s knot the only one, if you’ve been reading recent posts.

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      Robert Wakeham April 15, 2012 4:43 pm Reply
  • Funny – I didn’t quite interpret the invite in the same way that FA have done. Is this article just trying to be poliitical for the sake of it by any chance?

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    Lowry April 15, 2012 11:57 pm Reply
  • typical arrogant condemall councillors. it is obviously an election stunt – why not wait until after the election? ordinary people would see it as more genuine then. what council resources are being used for this?

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    coracle April 16, 2012 8:22 am Reply
  • “Ordinary folk” from outer Argyll & Bute must feel quite excluded from this rather grand event which will surely go down in the social calendar and history of 2012 along with the London Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

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    Ken MacColl April 16, 2012 9:52 am Reply
    • The olympics will be great for the country and all participants from all quarters of UK deserve encouragement. And frankly i cant see anything wrong with the jubilee if many are looking forward to celebrating same.
      Surely live and let live.

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      phill April 16, 2012 5:10 pm Reply
      • Enjoy it (them) if you want to,Phil. You will certainly be paying for it (then)!
        I feel as much engaged by those events as I do by Dame Ellen’s lofty social occasion but I will truly not be bovvered or feel excluded.The great outdoors of Argyll & Bute will be all the more attractive this summer while the box in the corner of the room takes a rest.

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        Ken MacColl April 18, 2012 9:02 am Reply
        • No one is criticising you Ken for exercising your choices, so why ridicule others directly or indirectly for doing likewise. If this is your vision of tolerance then keep it. I trust it is not SNP policy, as in my humble opinion they have moved heaven and earth (succesfully) to appeal to the majority of Scots, only to lose ground by your ‘old guard’undermining of that endeavour.
          The modern SNP i can definately identify with, but you are letting the side down and turning potential voters away with your poking fun at those not entirely in sync with you.
          It comes back to the question can one enjoy feeling Scottish while enjoying traditional Brittih festivities.
          Please enjoy your summer Ken without the box in the corner but while you are going round our wonderful county please ask yourself is it a good thing to live and let live, or attempt to take the p##s out of others.

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          phill April 20, 2012 7:27 pm Reply
          • You are almost certainly right, Phil, that I am missing something by not becoming unduly excited by the forthcoming jamborees in London and in Helensburgh but frankly I am prepared to take a chance on that. It is not my intention to ridicule anyone. I am perfectly content if you and others wish to wallow in such activities and will certainly search out for details of any celebratory steet party in the summer in Oban at the appropriate time- so that I am sure to avoid it!.

            I can assure you that my opinion on this has nothing at all to do with the Scottish Government or the Scottish National Party but comes with my accumulation of years. I used to watch the Olympics with genuine interest even back to the time when a Pathe newsreel two weeks after the event was the available report and was greatly taken when younger by the vision of de Coubertin and the idealism and principle of the likes of Eric Liddle. I have even visited the site of the first Pan Hellenic Games at Olympia but it seems that the Olympic ideal has long been lost and that most athletes are there now simply for the money rather than any Corinthian ideal. Are therenot to be events for professional footballers, and tennis players? The whole Olympic organisation (OIC) itself is run by a self-perpetuating “blazerati” that schmooze around the luxury hotels of the world doing deals that profit themselves. If you doubt me check out the details of Samaranch and his buddies.

            My distaste and therefor my comment on this particular item was the LibDem Cllr Morton’s patronising remarks about “ordinary people” So much for Liberalism and Democracy! That will be the people who pay her wages and will doubtless also be the same people who will be meeting the bill for whatever “official” function is organised to mark Billy Petrie’s retiral?

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            Ken MacColl April 22, 2012 10:05 pm
  • It’s been a while Newsie since you posted such a mean-spirited, narrow and twisted article.

    You are obviously totally obsessed if you can get your knicks in a twist about local councillors organising a farewell lunch for another long-serving local counmcillor. A spiteful article if I ever read one.

    But of course that doesn’t stop your glee club all volunteering their own tuppence worth of bile.

    Have a nice day – you lot deserve each other 🙂

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    Simon April 16, 2012 11:07 am Reply
    • But who deserves Simon, the desperately anomymous cheerleader for the present Council administration?

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      Ken MacColl April 16, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • “mean-spirited, narrow and twisted” – oh Simon, I thought you were describing yourself.

    My comments aren’t based on Newsies article but from personal experience.

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    Crazy She-Bat April 16, 2012 11:52 am Reply
  • I’m not sure that Newsroom would have published such an article if it had been about the SNP – however, that is just my view.

    I am more than happy to be classed as ‘ordinary’. There is nothing special about me, nor do I expect special treatment. I don’t belong or support any political party and therefore I don’t have to comply with any of the policies. I am not stuck in a system that does not/cannot put the local community first. I don’t have to wave party manifestos around trying to point out their value when only a small part might apply.

    However, I am lucky to be an ‘ordinary’ citizen in the UK. I have, to an extent, freedom of speech so that when I get annoyed, as an ordinary citizen, I can have my say!

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    Lowry April 16, 2012 3:03 pm Reply
    • “Freedom of speech” for how much longer? Kim Jung Fats Salmond has signed and adopted Agenda21 (treaty of rio)

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      Keith April 17, 2012 11:05 pm Reply
  • Lowry, your are 100% correct – “I’m not sure that Newsroom would have published such an article if it had been about the SNP”.

    This is a local councillor trying to organise a lunch for a retiring councillor of longstanding. Nothing more and nothing less. Indeed the only noteworthy thing is the magnanimous gesture of trying to make sure that ALL candidates get to know about it.

    It makes you wonder just how spiteful must Newsie actually be as to write such mean-spirited piece?

    Have a nice evening 😉

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    Simon April 16, 2012 5:42 pm Reply
  • Longstanding – but failed those he represents…

    certainly over the last 2 years.

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    Crazy She-Bat April 16, 2012 5:47 pm Reply
  • In your view.

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    Lowry April 16, 2012 6:21 pm Reply
  • Well Lowry, I’m hardly going to give someone else’s am I?

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    Crazy She-Bat April 16, 2012 6:22 pm Reply
  • I would have thought an event such as this should be organised by Rhu Community Council on behalf of his constituents if it is a do for the ‘ordinary’ people. That is the ward he represented for the majority of his years on the council. I really can’t understand why on earth it has been hijacked by the self important Ms Morton. Surely if the folk in Rhu would like to mark Billy’s retirement then this ‘nonpolitical’ event is rather stealing their thunder by throwing a rather grandiose affair attended mainly by council candidates and their entourages.

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    Delusional Bint April 17, 2012 10:23 am Reply
  • LOL “Ordinary People” That has to make you laugh who does this woman think she is? Does you not realise that by becoming a councillor she has become a servant of those ordinary people

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    Keith April 17, 2012 11:01 pm Reply
  • I have no problem at all with the event. Billy Petrie has been in LG for as long as there has been hair on his chinny chin chin and if people want to give him a send off then that is grand. Equally if people, especially those in Luss and the Peninsula, feel his time has been tainted by his actions over the past two years then that is equally legitimate.

    My initial reaction when I first read the letter was that it is slightly embarrassing that our Council’s Education Spokesperson has such an atrocious grasp of basic english!

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    Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll April 18, 2012 7:17 am Reply
    • Worse – many of those teaching our children have no more secure a grasp.
      This is not the fault of the individuals but of an approach to education that has been tinkered with endlessly by ministers since the 1960s.
      The question we have now is whether, when the hype is set aside, the Curriculum for Excellence (always a foolishly inflated title offering a fat hostage to fortune) – can deliver the basic competencies on which all else is founded.

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      newsroom April 18, 2012 8:19 am Reply
  • Shock horror. Hold the front page – “leaving do organised for colleague.” Such emails are sent the length and breadth of the country everyday.

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    gd April 23, 2012 12:07 am Reply

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