Restore the balance
On 6 October 2016, Aberdeen City Council agreed to spend at least £40,000 of taxpayer money producing a 12 page A4 magazine outlining their version of the legacy of the outgoing administration. This is to be sent out with council tax bills ahead of the local elections in May 2017 whether you want it or not. The full story is here.
Whilst I'm sure the official publication will carefully observe the law, it is less likely that this will be an objective, balanced account of the last 5 years. I doubt it will mention the delays, overspends, controversies, inaction and embarrassments that some councillors have heaped upon the weary citizens of Aberdeen.
To restore a bit of balance to the farce, I wish to produce a digital publication also for distribution in May 2017 that will give an alternative, unauthorised view of the legacy of our council. This publication will be free to download and share, in a range of digital formats.
This will be an entertaining, light-hearted read, fact-checked, professionally designed and distributed digitally to all who want it. This will not be an attempt to paint Aberdeen in a bad light - I'm simply ensuring an alternative view of recent local history is made available for those who may suspect the official version is not objective enough. Hopefully, it can undo some of the damage, that repeated negative press attention has caused our city by demonstrating that the people of Aberdeen are as embarrassed about our councils' behaviour, as those reading about it in national newspapers.
The funds will cover writing, design, editing, fact-checking and digital distribution. A small website will host the publication along with a breakdown of how the funds were used. If we exceed the first target, I'll explore getting a run of printed copies made. Even if we don't exceed the first target, I will make it available on a service like Blurb or Lulu, so people can order their own hard copies if they wish.
At least ten percent of the funds raised will go to help local food banks - more, if I can keep the production costs down. If anyone wants to offer design or fact-checking services at the rates below, I would be happy to hear from you.
How the costs were arrived at:
|Writing 48 page book||100||7.85||785|
|Design and layout||10||30||300|
|3rd Party Fact Check||24||30||720|
|Web page and digital distribution & misc.||178|
|Minimum Foodbank Donation||198.3|
The author will absorb the crowdfunder fees to ensure the minimum donation is met.
- The one with the first order of business
- The one where they had a cunning plan
- The one where they banned sandwiches
- The one where they went big in Japan
- The one where they banned the government
- The one where they left the table
- The one where they forgot something important
Show that this bothers you
If you think that the official publication paid for by council taxpayers may not tell the whole story and is not a good use of your money, please donate to show your displeasure and together we can ensure other views on the legacy of the current administration are made available to the public.
Q: I notice you are charging for your own time writing this. Why?
A: The council publication is vaguely costed at 'around £40,000'. I want this project to accurately show how it could have been done for a lot less. This means setting a rate for everything. The rate is equivalent to the current minimum wage. Writers should be paid more, but I'm not going to get into that can of worms here. If you have any reservations, please don't donate. I want to give you the choice of paying for this, unlike the official report which you have no choice over.
Q: Why are you talking Aberdeen down?
A: I am not. I have lived in this city for over 20 years by choice. It's full of hard-working, creative, smart, funny and generous people. I believe all those people deserve a bit more value from their city council than they have experienced over the last 5 years and that the city deserves to be world-leading in so many areas, instead of being a political football for Holyrood & Westminster parties. We can do better. That's aspirational.
Q: What gives you the right to lead this?
A: Nothing and no-one. I am just a concerned citizen and have seen first hand how difficult it can be to live and work in a city that is governed by political wannabees. I don't belong to any political party, I just want to live and work in a city that supports the needs of its people. Again, please don't donate if you have the slightest doubt about me or the aims of this project.
Q: Are you not just having a pop at all the hard-working folk at the council?
A: Absolutely not. Just those who have mis-used their position for political ends, rather than the good of the city. If that's you, then yeah you'll probably get a mention.
Q: I see the total comes out to £1983. Bit of a coincidence isn't it?
A: I'm sure I don't know what you mean. ;-)