A view from the Bridge

NATIONALLY, the controversy of Steven Hester’s Royal Bank of Scotland bonus/Fred Goodwin’s loss of knighthood has re-ignited the debate over just how powerful our top bankers are.

Personally, I thought Mr Hester was a bit hard-done-by in the press. However, his decision to turn down the bonus - nearly a million pounds in shares - is one to be welcomed in the context of the current financial climate.

I also think the decision to de-knight Fred Goodwin was the correct one. What I hope is that other leading figures find their own honours on shoogly coat pegs as well. Sir Fred wasn’t the only one guilty, and if we want to prevent a similar crisis happening again, tough action should be taken against those who laid the foundations of the situation we now find ourselves in.

THIS Friday, I will be travelling to Aberdeen to take part in ‘Brian’s Big Debate’ for the BBC, which will see members of the public given the opportunity to grill Scottish politicians on the issues that matter. It promises to be a good event, and if allowed to speak, I’ll be asking questions about why our dual carriageway has been delayed for so long on the taxpayer-subsidised whims of one well-heeled pressure group in Deeside.

I’d also like to ask the unionist parties on the panel when we are going to hear a positive case for the continuation of the union. There are a lot of people who would be receptive to one, but thus far all we’ve heard is nonsense about pandas being repossessed and partition of the Northern Isles. We’ve also not been told why said parties are so opposed to full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. If we really are an economic basketcase, why the reluctance to give us an option on control of our own taxes? It’ll be interesting listening to what they have to say.

IN local news, the town has been left shocked after the raid at RS McColl’s last Thursday. I’m sure I won’t be alone in wishing the police every success in tracking down the reprobates responsible for such a sustained assault on a small, community shop.

From my sources, it sounds as if the men involved were at least semi-professional in their conduct of the raid, cutting the security systems and waiting to see if the police would arrive.

It’s not often we get this sort of crime in Ellon, and the town does remain a very safe place to live. That said, it’s maybe that sort of perceived complacency that makes the town an attractive target to people carrying out this sort of crime. For that reason, we should all be on guard.