Rotary Round up

News from Stonehaven Rotary Club

Last Wednesday, there was no lunchtime meeting of Stonehaven Rotary Club as there was a Rotary Area Partner’s night at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen - Stonehaven is in Area 4.

A group of 15 from Stonehaven attended the event. The speaker was Mary Rasmussen who was accompanied by her Guide dog, her retired Guide dog and a puppy in training! She spoke about how much Guide dogs mean to the people who have one. 2016 is the centenary of Rotary in the north East of Scotland and Area 4 plans to raise the £5,000 it costs to fund the training of a Guide dog. The talk last Wednesday was the launch of this fundraiser.

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Like many clubs, Stonehaven Rotary club sponsors two young people to attend the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camps.

Following presentations to Fifth year pupils at Mackie Academy, interviews took place last Friday for those who had expressed a wish to go. Usually the club sponsors one boy and one girl - there are two separate camps - but as no boys had put their names forward for selection this year, Serena Shoker and Tamara Scherwitzel were both selected to attend the girls’ camp.

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This Saturday, February 28, the District round of the Rotary Young Musician competition takes place at St Leonard’s in the Field Church in Perth. The winner of the Club Young Musician competition held last November was Dylan Coolahan, who plays trumpet. He will be playing in the instrumental section of the competition on Saturday. We wish him good luck!

News from Laurencekirk Rotary Club

Revolution in Politics

Laurencekirk Rotary President , Mike Robson, was delighted to welcome back a former member, Bill Greig, as Monday’s speaker

Bill, now retired, is one of Scotland’s most experienced political journalists . Former Scottish Daily Express Political Editor , he also worked in Fleet Street and covered the Gulf War from the front line . He spent a decade in local radio as Head of News at Radio Forth and has now settled in Edzell

With the impending General Election he chose to speak on the ever diminishing influence of newspapers on the election and the alarming sway now held by the internet and its many social media tools .

The days of the powerful newspaper barons like Beaverbrook and Northcliffe who had an outsize influence in politics have long gone and newspaper circulation has dramatically dropped.

He quoted his own former employer the Daily Express -- a circulation of 4.5 million in the early sixties has now dropped to a desultory 400, 000 today .

Television, with its studio gladiatorial confrontations, will also have little effect on the outcome.

The Election will be fought on line with political advisors , pundits and opinion pollsters becoming ever more skilful at interpreting social media chatter and tweaking their policies ,strategy and opinions accordingly.

For newspapers, substitute search engines like Google who collect information on their users to sell onto advertisers and provide important statistics to political managers .

Opinion Polls are still very important and the companies who conduct them are using surer methods of gathering information .

The whole world of political punditry is changing with marketing and social research tools ,such as focus groups and intelligent consensus ,being widely used .

A sharing of information and methods with American political managers is also evident .

With all this sophisticated information , political managers should be able to target an important group or issue , however small ,that could swing an election.

The SNP in the referendum failed to identify women and pensioners as key voters in their campaigning strategy .

The campaigning may have gone virtual but the effect will be real .

David Johnston thanked Bill for a really fascinating insight into the changing world of politicking .