A view from the Bridge

READERS may or may not be aware of the Martha Payne kerfuffle in Argyll, where the council has forced a 9-year old girl to cease blogging about her school dinners - before withdrawing the diktat.

Quite aside from the fact that the blogs in question seem pretty well balanced and fair, I fail to see the rationale behind what seems like a decidedly Stalinist policy towards freedom of speech. Indeed, taking a sledgehammer to crack this particular nut has garnered nothing but appalling press coverage for the local authority in question, particularly in the social media.

Public authorities need to learn that once journalists want to write a story, we will write it: it’s up to people in PR departments to turn bad news into good. Attempting to silence criticism is not a feasible course of action.

One aspect of the story which does raise a smile is the fact that Miss Payne has now raised tens of thousands of pounds for African charity Mary’s Meals, who she had previously been fundraising for. Every cloud has a silver lining!

IN other news, I was appalled with the service I received in one of our local eateries a couple of weeks ago.

Having taken five of my friends to the area on a glorious summers’ day, we stopped at a rural restaurant near Ellon which I previously had a very high opinion of. Despite there being ample space available - outdoors and in - my request for a table for five was met with a disinterested “nuh” from the lassie at reception.

No “sorry”, no “we’re fully booked”, not even a “this is a local pub for local people.” Just “nuh”.

The establishment in question lost at least £70 worth of custom, which was taken to the New Inn instead, where we had a lovely meal.

Having done jobs which involve working with the public, I well understand just how annoying the public can be. But the fact is, if we are attempting to create a Scotland which people from abroad want to visit, I’d hate to think that visitors are being treated to the same diabolical service as my friends and I were.

LASTLY, this Tuesday saw David Cameron give President Christina Kercher of Argentina a bit of a dressing down at the G20, regarding Argentina’s ongoing sabre rattling over the Falklands. Enjoy the novelty of this while it lasts (praise from both myself and Jack Nixon in one week!) but I have to say: “good on you, DC.”

Argentina has no meaningful claim on the Falklands. There was no native population who were expelled - unlike in Argentina itself, where the Patagonian tribes were brutally conquered in their homelands.

The Falkland Islanders, who are the nearest thing to an indigenous population, have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain a British overseas dependency. Theirs is the opinion that counts.