After nearly 20 years of haranguing the East Gordon public, I little thought the topic of eyesores would still be an issue for some readers.
Heavens only knows I have re-visited the appalling abuse of the environment often enough over the last two decades, but for the sake of peace I am happy to appease those of you who have raised it with me.
It is of course an opportune time to be talking about litter dropping, and worse, especially as we fast approach midsummer and with it an influx of visitors.
Hopefully we shall be over-run with visitors of all kinds, some of them from overseas who have come to Scotland at a time when it looks at its very bonniest, green and welcoming.
So why oh why do we have the unedifying sight of litter outside shops, at bus stops, and most of all on the roadsides in so many places in the area?
I just don’t know, but I do know it is deeply embarrassing for those of us who really care about how we present our countryside. Have we no pride? In some cases it appears not, and yet each and everyone I speak to on the subject is agreed that it is totally unacceptable.
My own mission for the summer is to challenge every litter lout who dares to offend in front of me. A dangerous strategy, but what the heck at my age what have I got to lose? Not responding would be an abdication of any values I hold dear on a vexed subject.
Moving on, well hopefully, I try as much as possible not to look back in history, unless it is to learn from previous mistakes, and there have been plenty in my own life, but just as importantly by those made in serving the Aberdeenshire public. The difference being on this occasion it is in praise of those good and faithful servants.
Last week gave me the opportunity to look back on my days in education in the same area to a time when our young people were well served by a caring authority who put the lives of young people at a premium, offering them a pathway to work in a range of trades, and skills.
Yes, the Junior Secondary Schools of yester year did exactly that. If you were around at the time, or even a beneficiary, you will know what I am talking about.
So why then am I raising the issue nearly 40 years on? Quite simply because a government commissioned report has come up with its own relevation that young people in 2014 have no “pathway to work”.
Now there’s a surprise, forgetful that we became obsessed with academia in all shapes and forms.
The commission was headed up by no less a person than leading North-east industrialist Sir Ian Wood who found that children unsuited to academia were not being prepared for work, and as a consequence no “clear pathway” after schooling.
All I would say is has it really taken all this time for us to face up to an issue that some of us were pointing up in the 1980’s in our anxiety to prepare young people for the world of work. In reality the issue of having some 53,000 young people on the dole has become a huge embarrassment for the Scottish Government. Hence the panic.