A view from the Bridge

A HAPPY New Year - even though it seems but a distant memory.

Where did the festive season go to this year? It seems to have come and gone in a flash - and now all that’s left is to pick up the tab, which gets bigger and bigger each year.

My enthusiasm for New Year has long since departed and I’m not alone judging by the evidence in our street on Hogmanay. Shortly after midnight and hardly a light on and not a soul going about. Aye, times have fairly changed.

You rarely hear about first footin’ and one of my son’s friends, who’s in his late 20s, actually remarked over the holidays - “what is first footin’ anyway”?

My experience is that a lot of folk these days embrace Christmas but freely admit they “can’t be bothered” with New Year. You can have one any weekend, they argue, and who can dispute that.

AN ATTEMPT by Aberdeen City Council to make begging a criminal offence has provoked a heated debate.

The Labour-led coalition’s move for a new bylaw is in response to complaints from the public about having to run the gauntlet of an increasing number of beggars in the Union Street area, and a desire to “lift” the rundown image of the busy city centre thoroughfare.

But the proposal faces strong opposition from some charities and lawyers who maintain criminalisation is simply not the answer. Such a move, according to them, would further isolate the vulnerable who are more in need of support than sanctions.

The council tried unsuccessfully once before to outlaw begging and later introduced “begging boxes” to enable those who wanted to give directly to a homeless charity. But it did little to ease the problem.

Council officials are to draw up a report on the begging issue which is due to go before the authority’s housing and environment committee in March.